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Thursday, 11 August 1921


Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) (2:28 AM) '. - Senator Pratten questioned the average wages paid in the woollen trade in Australia to-day, and for his information I may say that the average rate for forty-eight hours per week is 66s. for adult male workers.


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is that in the woollen mills or the cloth mills ?


Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - The woollen mills. In regard to the profits made, I shall quote the finding of the Inter-State Commission, which is repeated again in the 1920 annual report of the Bureau of Commerce and Industry. It reads -

On inquiry we find the Government had the output of twenty-two mills from 1915 to April, 1917. The capital involved was £1,144,000 and the net profit was £1,197,000.

They received a return equal to .the whole of their capital in approximately two and a half years.


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable senator is quoting from the report of the Bureau of Commerce and Industry, and not from the report of the Inter-State Commission.


Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - They are the same. ;"-?v'|tf-|


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I quoted from the report of the Inter-State Commission.


Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - The Govern- ment are responsible for this publication. The finding was that a profit of -33^ per cent, was made, and the whole of the capital was returned in two and a half years.


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - What does the honorable senator consider the decent manufacturers made?


Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - Twenty to 30 per cent.


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is more than the average.


Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - They had badly-managed mills, with obsolete machinery. I do not know how they did it, but they made a profit of from 20 to 30 per cent.


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - If the average profit was 33£ per cent., and two or three manufacturers made an altogether abnormal profit, some of the others must have made much less than the average.


Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - I spoke of one concern that made a profit of £90,000.


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - And a Geelong firm made £100,000 out of flannel.


Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - Those are only two out of twenty-two companies. On the other hand, as I have said, there were mills with obsolete machinery that cannot have made large profits.


Senator Reid - I understand that the Federal mill made 10 per cent, on its output after paying all expenses, and sold its cloth to the Government at fixed prices.


Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - I. was informed that that mill could have made over 30' per cent, if allowed to sell its output in the ordinary way. »







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