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Thursday, 23 March 1961


Mr McEWEN - My memory of a very important but very lengthy and comprehensive Tariff Board report substantiates what the honorable member has said. I think that the Tariff Board also referred to circumstances affecting other States, but I am sure that the board did point out that the level of royalties and rail freights in New South Wales imposed a very heavy burden upon the timber industry, or contributed very largely to the cost of delivered timber in that State. Then the board, if my memory serves me correctly, went on to point out something that is obviously correct - that if as a result of recognizing special cost factors in one State it were to recommend a compensating increase in the level of protection accorded, there would be no end to the matter because such recognition could be taken as an invitation to the government of that or any other State to proceed recklessly to increase royalties, freight rates or any other charge within its control, and so to throw upon the Tariff Board the responsibility of recommending further compensation at the expense of the whole Australian community, but particularly at the expense of Australian home owners. The Government believes that that is not a course to which we should subscribe. We hope that the State governments - and the New South Wales Government in particular - will scrutinize quite carefully the possibility of abating these charges in existing circumstances.







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