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Thursday, 18 August 1921


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - The Committee, it seems to me, is in a difficulty. It has agreed to a request to reduce the duty on wire netting from 68s. to 55s. per ton under the British preferential Tariff. The maker of barbed wire or wire netting, unless he draws his own wire, has to pay a duty of 52s. per ton if he imports his wire from Great Britain, so that there is now only a difference of 3s. per ton between the duty on the wire that he wants to use and the duty on the completely manufactured article. That is not quite a fair position in which to place the man who does not draw his own wire. On the other hand, we have to consider the position of the wire-drawers here. In order to compete against the importers who supply wire for the manufacture of barbed wire, they will have to sell their product in the neighbourhood of the import cost. The protection granted in respect of these finer wires for the manufacture of wire netting is only £2 12s. per ton, or just about that which was given last night to the coarser grades of fencing wire. Anomalies in connexion with this item have cropped up all round in view of the requests that have been made by the Committee. The Minister has read a letter received from Messrs. Rylands Brothers, but I would point out that the wiredrawing industry which they are establishing at Newcastle is not the only one of its kind in Australia. An enterprise of considerable proportions has been carried on for some time on the Parramatta River. Has the Government received representations from it in connexion with the duty?


Senator Lynch - How long has that firm been carrying on the industry?


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - To my own knowledge, it has been carrying on the manufacture of wire netting on the Parramatta River for thirty-five years.


Senator Russell - The honorable senator refers to the firm of Lysaght Brothers and Company, of Australia.


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes, and as distinguished from the firm of John Lysaght and Company, of England.


Senator Lynch - Wire-drawing has been going on side by side with the manufacture of wire netting.


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Not for thirtyfive years, but with imported wire the making of wire netting has been going on for that time.


Senator Russell - They turn out 1,600 miles of netting per month.


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Can the Minister say whether any representations have been received from the firm to which I have referred?


Senator Russell - I think so; because we have their record here; evidently we have been in touch with them.


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - My information is that this factory, assuming it to be in full going order, will employ about 1,400 people. The enterprise of Rylands, at Newcastle, is as yet, to a large extent, in the elementary stage, and it is not the representations of that' firm to which I should pay so much attention as the representations of a firm which has been engaged in. the business for thirty-five years, and is capable of employing 1,400 people. Before the Committee finally deals with this item I should like to know a little more about the real position, in order that we may give fair play all round.







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