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Wednesday, 24 August 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) . - I am given to understand that subitem c covers steam engines, all types of gas engines, oil engines, electric cranes. cableways, ropeways, and innumerable engines of various types, many of which are not made in Australia. Cheap power is the backbone of all industry, but it is not reasonable to expect Australia to become a big manufacturing country if its manufacturers are called upon to pay 80 per cent. more than their foreign competitors for it. At any rate, it is imposing a very heavy penalty on them to oblige them to pay from 271/2 per cent. up to 40 per cent. duty on engines which are absolutely necessary for the working of their factories. Mining expenses, without loading the industry with excessive capital charges, are very high at the present time. I am not sure whether this matter has been placed before the Minister in this light before; but for such items as gas engines, electric cranes, and other machines, quite a large number of which are included in the item, the duty seems to be exceptionally heavy, and quite able to stand a reduction. These facts have been brought under my notice, and I think it my duty to ask for some information. We do not wish to penalize any industry, primary or secondary, by imposing duties on the raw material they have to use, thus handicapping them against foreign competitors.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - All the engines enumerated by the honorable senator come under this item with the exception of electric cranes.

Senator PAYNE - If that is so, I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty, sub-item (c), general, 35 per cent.

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