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Thursday, 3 December 1959

Mr McEWEN - I have heard that a shortage of these items to which the honorable member has referred has developed in some areas and I acknowledge that Victoria is one of those areas. I understand very clearly the importance to the home-building community, and especially the farming community, of the two items, water piping and corrugated iron. I am glad to say that there is an export trade in these items which we have fought hard to secure. My own opinion is that it is not really the export trade that has produced the shortage but some short-term inability of traders to obtain stocks. That is the impression I have gained. I think the right line is to encourage manufacturers to produce in sufficient quantities to meet both our home requirements and our export markets and, in the meantime, try to service our immediate home needs sufficiently without sacrificing the export markets that we fought so hard to gain. But I would not accept it as satisfactory that either our home market or our export market should go short for any appreciable period.

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