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Thursday, 11 August 1921


Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) (4:42 AM) . - The reason the duty is so high is that nearly all the materials for the construction of corsets are dutiable, and, of course, the duty on the finished product must be higher than that on the raw materials.


Senator Drake-Brockman - Senator Payne produced a corset which scarcely supports that statement.


Senator Payne - I produced a corset without any embellishments. In any case the bones, busks, and, I believe, every thing used in the construction of that corset is duty free.


Senator RUSSELL - There has been a satisfactory development of the industry, and, according to my information, a new company has recently been formed in Sydney, the Paxton Corset Syndicate, with a capital of £25,00.0. The wages paid at present by this company amount to £3,000 per annum, and the capacity of the' present plant is four dozen corsets per week. By about the end of 1921 the wages will probably be at the rate of £10,000 or £12,000 per year. During the year 1920, Berlei Limited, Sydney, turned out 6,778 dozen corsets valued at £27,260. This company employed forty-five hands in January, 1921, and ninety-one in December 1921, and during the year paid £5,150 in wages. The Australian Hygienic Corset Company, Sydney, has a capital of £85,000, and the output is about 5,000 dozen per year, valued at £6 5s. per dozen, or £81,250. The plant is capable of doubling this output, and when the demand warrants the plant is to be increased to the capacity of 20,000 dozen per year of a nominal value of £125,000. At present seventy-five hands are employed. It will be seen from the information supplied that this is quite a substantialindustry, and is growing rapidly.


Senator Drake-Brockman -What profits are made on the capital invested in the industry?


Senator RUSSELL - I am not in a position to say, but the industry is ap- parently doing very well. The Australian I ndustries Protection League has fur nished the following information regarding corset making in Australia: -

(a)   Names of manufacturers: -

1.   The Belasco Corset and Tie Co., 430 Bourke-street, Melbourne.

2.   Berlei Limited, 39 Liverpool-street, Sydney.

3.   Australian Corsets Limited, 60 Yorkstreet, Sydney.

4.   Robert Paxton, Yarra-street, Sydney.

Note. - There are, in addition, quite a number of others who make corsets in a small way. The above munes are the principal makers. Amongst the smaller makers are the following:

Madame Florens, Culwulla Chambers; Mrs. Glasheen, 350 . George-street; A. Govell & Co., 83 Market-street; Madame Pauline, Elizabeth-street; Mrs. A. McDonald, 13 Bathurst-street, Woollahra; Miss McGuinness, Ocean House, Moore-street; Miss Richardson, the Strand Arcade; Airs. S. Glover, Epping; Mrs. Hultgren, Collingwoodstreet, Drummoyne.

Melbourne, Victoria. - Miss Warland, Collinsstreet; Mrs. J. Wade, 114 Russellstreet; Mrs. A. B. Webb,59a Wellingtonstreet, Prahran; Miss Sherman, 16 Alexander-street, Elsternwick ; Mrs. M. Hardy, 98 Elizabeth-street.

Adelaide, South Australia. - Miss E.Gibb,

Bowman's Arcade.

Perth. - Miss A. Kyle, Bairde Arcade.

Brisbane. - Madame Jenyns Corset Coy., 327

George-Street.

(b)   Value and quality of output (three factories only) : -

1.   For past six months, £25,000 - 6,200 dozen pairs.

2.   For running six months, £59,000 - 10,000 dozen pairs.

(c)   Amount of capital invested (three factories only), £125,000.

(d)   Number of hands employed, 175; weekly wages, £307.

(e)   Evidence as to quality and prices:- One maker states - " Our corsets are only -the best, and for quality compare' most favorably with the imported article; and the price is, wo arc pleased to say, considerably lower." - (Belasco Corset Co.) .

Another says- " The quality of all our goods compare with any imported model, and prices average from 33 per cent, to 40 per cent, below prices asked for a similar grade imported article." - (Australian Corsets Ltd.)

For your further information, it may be added that the league learned, on excellent authority, that should the Tariff be adopted, it is the intention of Warmer Bros., of America, to open a factory in Australia.

It is also probable that the Canadian D. & A. Corset Co. will open in Australia if the 'Tariff schedule be adopted. Mr. Hopwood, their Melbourne agent, might probably be able to give some information on the matter.

I do not say that these manufacturers produce all the requirements of Australia, but it is evident that they are making an effort to establish the industry, and have met with considerable success. The particulars of importations of corsets over a period of years are as follow: -

 

In view of the strong representations of honorable senators I shall be prepared to accept a request for the reduction of the duties by 10 per cent, in each instance. The situation as it may then develop will be carefully watched by the Tariff Board.







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