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Tuesday, 30 August 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I agree. Why not let oregon waste come in free to cheapen houses? If you. are talking about waste, there is quite sufficient waste on the Pacific littoral in and about Seattle - why not let it come in free and cheapen houses to the people ? To continue the letter -

Moreover, we have to pay freight, duty and charges on the timber which is lost in converting to the sizes required for the boxes. As a further argument for an increased duly, we must point out that some of the manufacturers who use these imported boxes in shooks have adequate protection granted by the Tariff on the lines of merchandise they manufacture, and that, in our opinion, to be consistent these manufacturers should be compelled to purchase their cases and boxes from the local makers, who cater for their requirements. Since 1914 to date we have had little to complain of in regard to the importation of boxes in shooks, but that was on account of the war, which stopped imports. To-day, however, we are again faced with the great probability that boxes in shooks will be brought in. especially as the present Tariff is so lenient in its charges on them. As previously pointed out, these imported boxes are in many instances branded with advertising matter and the name of the commodity they will contain when the cases are put together. This branded matter does not come under " advertising matter," and, therefore, is not dutiable. In all fairness, we think this practice should be stopped, as all the branding necessary can be done locally on the many expensive plants especially installed by the various local box manufacturers for this purpose. To give you some idea of the waste in converting timber to the sizes requisite for boxes, in a case containing 5 feet super. of timber there is a waste of 26½ per cent. in converting timber to the necessary size, and on this waste the local boxmakers have to pay duty, freight, cartage and other charges to the mills.

The position set out in this letter is what it was when the original schedule was introduced. An increase was made in another place upon the timber itself. Thus the position became anomalous; but a still further anomaly has been created by the vote of this Committee. The Minister (Senator Pearce) says, however, that he will not meet the position .

Senator Pearce - I stand by the rates at present existing.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Minister at least to agree to some protection being given to Australian boxmakers by way of the duty upon undressed timber.

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