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Tuesday, 9 August 1921


Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) .- I shall support the Government in. this matter. We have heard at various times a great deal about the need for . decentralization, and the manufacture of condensed and dried milk is an industry which tends to produce decentralization, because its products must be made in the districts in which the milk is obtained. Milk cannot be sent for manufacture to what have been referred to here as the " bloated " cities.


Senator Russell - There are fourteen factories in Australia, situated in three States.


Senator ELLIOTT - I presume that those States are Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, because these are the dairying States of the Commonwealth. The condensed milk industry uses a great deal of sugar, and those who make condensed milk in other countries obtain their sugar for less than the Australian manufacturers have to pay. We give a rebate on ' the sugar in condensed milkthat is exported, but in the local market' the Australian article has to compete with the imported article at a disadvantage. It has been urged as a reason against increasing the duty on milk products that the chief firms manufacturing them in Australia are branches of concerns that are in business in other countries. That may be so; but it must not be forgotten that those interested in these concerns were induced by the promise of protection to invest their capital here. They have expended millions of money on their enterprise, and their operations give employment to a great number of persons.


Senator Duncan - You do not think that they will compete against themselves, and shut up the Australian factories which they have established at such a cost?


Senator ELLIOTT - It is not to be supposed that all the manufacturers of milk products have branch factories in Australia, or are associated with .Australian enterprises, and without protection it might well happen that the local factories might have to be closed because sugar costs more in Australia than elsewhere, and wages are higher. A great deal of money has' been spent on the factories that I have seen in the Western District of Victoria, in which the employees work under very favorable conditions. The company insists that those who supply it with milk shall keep their' dairies scrupulously clean, and makes an inspection of these places. It will not poy for milk which has not been produced under almost ideal conditions. That is a guarantee of the wholesomeness of the local product which we do not possess in regard to the imported product.







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