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Thursday, 25 November 1965

Mr BURY (Wentworth) (Minister for Housing) . - I move -

That the Bill be now read a second time.

It is proposed to extend the period of operation of the Sulphuric Acid Bounty Act 1954-1965 to 30th June 1969. The present expiry date of this Act is 31st December 1965. Following upon the Tariff Board report which I have just tabled, the Government has decided that assistance should continue to both the sulphuric acid and pyrites industries. Presently I will be introducing a bill to extend the Pyrites Bounty Act 1960- 1965 also to 30th June 1969, and as the reasons for both this and the Sulphuric Acid Bounty Bill are closely allied, I will deal with the position as a whole in this speech.

These bounties are being paid on sulphuric acid and pyrites as an acknowledgement by the Government of an obligation to manufacturers who participate in the former policy of encouraging the use of local sulphur bearing materials in the manufacture of sulphuric acid. In the early 1950's, during a world shortage of brimstone, the Government actively encouraged the use of these local materials and introduced a bounty scheme to compensate for the consequent cost disadvantages. In 1959, however, when the overseas supply position of brimstone improved, the Government varied its policy but acknowledged an obligation to those manufacturers who had installed plant and equipment for handling the local materials; hence the introduction of the original Acts. No change in the rate of bounty on pyrites or on sulphuric acid produced from lead sinter gas is proposed, but in accordance with the Board's recommendations it is intended that the rate of £3 per ton on 100 per cent. sulphuric acid produced from iron pyrites be reduced to £2 10s. per ton. The reason for this reduction is that, since the previous Tariff Board inquiry, the cost of converting pyrites to sulphuric acid has fallen by approximately 10s. per ton more than the conversion costs for brimstone have fallen.

In accordance with the provisions of the Sulphuric Acid Bounty Bill, the variation in the rate of sulphuric acid bounty will take effect from tomorrow, 26th November. It is proposed that a further Tariff Board inquiry be conducted before the end of the new bounty periods. In preparing this legislation, the opportunity has been taken to clarify the treatment of the profit limitation provision in those cases where the financial years of the claimants do not coincide exactly with the bounty periods, so that the claimant's financial year may be taken as the bounty year. Also, provision has been made for the payment of advances of bounty, delegation of powers by the Minister or the Comptroller-General and that the returns to Parliament, under the Act, are to be in respect of years ending on 30th June. These amendments are to bring the Act into line with present practice followed in other bounty legislation. I commend the Bill to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.

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