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Friday, 29 July 1921

Senator CRAWFORD (Queensland) . - The price of sugar must make some difference in the cost of production of confectionery; but, after all, in the case of a great deal of confectionery on the market at present, the cost of the sugar is a very small item indeed. In any confectionery shop it is impossible to get sweets under about 2s. 6d. a pound, and if a person desires to purchase a box of the best Australian chocolates, the price is 25s., although in those chocolates there is not more than 3 lbs. ofsugar. I have been supplied with some figures showing the progress that has been made in the confectionery industry. In 1914 the value of the output was £1,657,045, and the value of the materials was £1,570,902. The difference between the value of the output and the value of the materials was just about £600,000. In 1918 the value ofthe output was £2,969,573, and the value of the materials used, £1,894,187, showing that the value added by manufacture was over £1,100,000. During the war, owing to the exceedingly reasonable price at which confectionery manufacturers were able to obtain sugar, and to their having practically the monopoly of the market, they were able to increase their output by over £1,250,000.

Senator de Largie - Put the figures into pounds weight.

Senator CRAWFORD - I have not the figures showing the pounds weight. At any rate, we know that there was no


shortage of confectionery - that, instead of decreasing, the business increased, and very large profits were made, not only by the manufacturers, but by the retailers as well.

Senator Lynch - They were bound to progress, seeing that they had the market to themselves.

Senator CRAWFORD - Yes; and they got their raw material at a very low price. I understand that the majority of -honorable senators have been simply deluged by requests from the producers of different commodities for increases in duty. I must confess, on the other hand, that I have received no communication from the confectionery trade complaining that the import duties are too low. The fact is that the confectionery business, on both the manufacturing and the retail sides, is particularly prosperous to-day. But even if the profits diminish a little for a few months, on account of the price of sugar, surely the low price at which sugar has been sold for the past six or seven years ought to count for something. After all, the cost of sugar is a very small proportion of the price at which confectionery is retailed in Melbourne and elsewhere in Australia.

Senator Bolton - Not more than half.

Senator CRAWFORD - I have not seen any sweets sold under about 2s. 6d. a lb., though the sugar in those sweets does not cost 5d. I suppose that the sugar in the sweets does not represent, on an average, 10 per cent, of the price at which the sweets are retailed in this city. What is the cost of the sugar in a 25s. box of chocolates? These boxes are to be seen, in nearly every confectioner's window, and the presumption is that some people buy them, though I confess I have not done so. We must remember that in chocolates and other sweets glucose is sometimes used instead of sugar, and there is an import duty of 12s. per cwt. on glucose, or exactly twice the duty imposed on sugar.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable senator would sooner that sugar was used, although it is at a high price.

Senator CRAWFORD - No. There are certain classes of confectionery for which glucose is necessary - for which there must be some sweet material which will not crystallize or harden. Thus glu cose is used in many cases where ordinary sugar is not suitable.

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