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Thursday, 18 August 1921


Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) . - I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty, sub-item (b), British, per ton, 35s.

If this is done, the duty on the lighter type of rails of British manufacture will be the same as that on heavier rails imported from the same source. My purpose in submitting this request is to assist those States which find it very difficult to carry out developmental railway construction because of the engineering difficulties caused by the rough country through which their lines have to pass. In Tasmania, the latest estimate for putting down a 3-ft. 6-in. gauge branch line to serve a district which is now beyond carting radius from the main line, is £8,333 per mile. In addition to the heavy cost of earthworks and so forth, the State Government is asked to pay a heavy duty upon the 40-lb. rails which, owing to engineeringdifficulties, must be used in these branch lines. The duties upon rails actually favour those States where the railway lines tra verse fairly level country and thus can be built cheaply, as against those which encounter considerable engineering difficulties in constructing: developmental lines; which are. essential for the general welfare of the Commonwealth, and which, the States should be encouraged to build.I realize that the Broken Hill Proprietary Company must have a reasonable amount of protection to insure the stability of their: industry; but I am not prepared to give them what is more than reasonable, and thus possibly run the risk of imperilling the carrying out of projects which; are more than ever necessary at. the present time for the well-being of the community.. Several branch railway lines have been held up in Tasmania during the last three or four years in the hope that before long the cost of construction will fall, instead of which it has increased, in regard to supplies of rails, fishbolts, and fastenings. My request is not put forward for the purpose of opposing the policy of affording protection to thesteel-rail industry. My object: is to avoid placing a burden on. States which find it necessary to carry on developmental work, and to reduce the financial responsibilities which must be undertaken in the endeavour to open up the country satisfactorily. ThereforeI hope that the Committee will put the States which find it essential to use the lighter rails on the same footing as those in' a position to use the heavier rails.

Question put. The Committee divided'.

Ayes . . . . ...8

Noes . . .... . . 12

Majority . . . . 4 .

 

 

Item. 157-

Barbed wire; per ton, British, 68s; intermediate, 85s.; general, 105s..







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