Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Friday, 29 July 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - I do not know whether Senator

Pratten has not the protectionist microbe to almost a self-destructive point. Molasses has been found to be very useful for stock-feeding purposes, yet in some parts of Western Australia it is almost unprocurable, even at a price which is over £20 per ton. Yet the honorable senator wants to put a duty on it.

SenatorCrawford. - There is no market for molasses for stock-feeding purposes except during a drought.

Senator LYNCH - Even when there is no drought the graziers are asked to pay £2 10s. per 2-cwt. cask for it, and even when they are willing to pay this price they cannot get it. Yet this insane cry for a duty is raised. What advantage can be derived by placing a duty on a commodity which cannot be supplied, although those who require it are willing to pay cash for it?

SenatorPRATTEN (New South Wales) [11.18]. - I am surprised at the inability of Senator Lynch to look all around this question. I am as fully aware as he is of the value and necessity of molasses for feeding stock in times of drought. My previous remarks upon this subject were directed to an inquiry from Senator Crawford as to the position in Queensland, and as a result of that inquiry we have been informed that considerable quantities of molasses go to waste in that State. But I now know that an effort is now being made to utilize what has hitherto been a waste material.

SenatorCrawford. - A considerable quantity of molasses is now being used in the Commonwealth Acetate of Lime Factory in Brisbane.

SenatorPRATTEN. - Quite so. Another inquiry has elicited the fact that in the last financial year Australia imported £19,000 worth of molasses. Thus, while we are importing molasses from a black-labour country, we are also wasting molasses in Queensland. My only reason for speaking upon this item was because I thought it was a matter we might discuss fully, and with all due deference to Senator Lynch I believe that the little discussion we have had already has elicited some facts of which many honorable senators were not cognisant. I would favour a small duty on Fijian molasses if it would lead to preventing the waste of molasses in Queensland. If the byproducts of the industry can be sold at reasonable prices the result must be to lower the manufacturing cost of sugar, and its price to the consumer.

Senator Lynch - It has not been established that molasses is being wasted in Queensland.

SenatorPRATTEN. - Senator Crawford has informed the Committee that it is not all being used, and that a considerable portion of it is being wasted.

Senator Lynch - And there are buyers of molasses in the market at £20 per ton.

SenatorPRATTEN. - I do not know anything about that. I do know that when in New SouthWales molasses has been required for the feeding of stock the price has been more like £3 per ton free on rail plus packages than £20 per ton.

Senator Crawford - The Queensland mills would be very glad to get £1 per ton for it.

SenatorPRATTEN.- I am unable to say whethermy honorable friend from the Cinderella State has been misinformed, or whether there is something going on over there in connexion with the sale of molasses that is wrong.

Senator Drake-Brockman - We are at the mercy of the rest of Australia in that regard as we are in connexion with most other matters.

Senator Crawford - The honorable senator should know that molasses is obtained from sugar beet as well as from sugar cane.

SenatorPRATTEN.- Senator Crawford has said that steps are being taken to utilize molasses in Queensland, and as I initiated the discussion in order to obtain information, I am content to let the item go.

Suggest corrections