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Tuesday, 9 August 1921

Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) .- The trade in malted milk for many years has been held by the American manufacturers -Horlick's, who have spent enormous sums in Australia and elsewhere in advertising, and thus creating a demand for their product. This expenditure has, of course, been passed on to the consumer. For many years Horlick's has been the only malted milk on the market, and the name has become a household word. The bulk of the population are unaware that any other malted milk is. on the market, and it was only during the war, when supplies were difficult to obtain from overseas, that the local manufacturers embarked on the project of manufacturing malted milk with a view to relieving the shortage. The local manufacturers have been able to produce an article in every way similar to the imported malted milk, and to place it on the market at a considerably lower price than was previously charged by the American manufacturers, because" they have not had to pay enormous sums in advertising. The works already established are confined to Victoria, but there is every prospect of this valuable industry being extended to every other State in the Commonwealth where dairying is undertaken. There is at present in New South Wales a large factory equipped with the necessary plant for producing malted milk as soon as the trade demands it, but unless the present duty is maintained it is almost certain that the industry will fail.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why not impose a similar duty on all such foods?

Senator ELLIOTT - The local manufacturers do not intend increasing their prices.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why not be consistent? Impose duties on all or admit all of them free.

Senator ELLIOTT - During the war period we proved that this commodity could be produced, and the industry should therefore be protected. If manufacturers can show that other foods similar to those imported can be produced here, they will necessarily ask for similar protection.

Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - Is Horlick's malted milk produced in England ?

SenatorRussell. - There are three factories in America and one in Great Britain.

Senator ELLIOTT - It has been said that, as the price of Horlick's malted milk is considerably higher than that of the local product, no protection is necessary. The prices hitherto ruling for Horlick's malted milk have not been based upon the cost of production, but have been unnecessarily inflated to meet the expenditure involved in advertising. Now that the product is well known the manufacturers can amend their prices by reducing their advertising, and thus be in a better position to compete with Australian manufacturers. The Australian product can be supplied to consumers immediately after it is manufactured. It does not have to pass through the tropics and risk deterioration as is the case with imported foods.

Senator Senior - The jams and other commodities we export to England have to pass through the tropics and do not deteriorate.

Senator ELLIOTT - Australian jams are boiled and preserved. The Australian manufacturers of this article, do not contemplate increasing their present price to the consumers if the duty is retained.

Senator Senior - What was the price in 1920, and what is it to-day?

Senator ELLIOTT - I have no record of that. Malted milk is a more scientifically prepared article than either dried or powdered milk, and its manufacture therefore affords an opportunity for the development of chemical industries in Australia. As the local manufacturers are able to gradually obtain more of the trade and control the Australian market, their prices will tend to diminishrather than increase, by reason of the fact that their overhead charges will be decreased as a result of greater production.

Senator Drake-Brockman - That is not according to experience.

Senator ELLIOTT - It is a universal argument for Protection, that by securing our markets we are able to give the benefit to local consumers of lower prices due to increased production. It has been proved in many cases that as soon as the local market has been secured to the manufacturer he can quote better prices to local consumers.

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