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Wednesday, 31 August 1921

Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria.) .:- As the schedule was originally introduced in another place, chamois leather was admitted free of duty. An amendment was inserted that, on and after 1st January, 1922,. the rates should be, respectively, 10 per cent., 15 per cent., and 20 per cent. ad valorem. It was stated elsewhere that the local manufacture of chamois leather was just about to become established, and it was considered that, by deferring the imposition of duties until the beginning of next year, the Australian, manufacturers would then be ready to place their commodity on. the market. I have, an Australian, specimen piece in my hand, however, which demonstrates that chamois leather is being produced here at this moment. As a fact, the- industry is already well under way in this State, and, I understand, in New South Wales also. I desire the. rates to be made immediately operative^ and that they shallbe the same as in respect of other manufactured leathers, such as glace kid, upon which, since the 30th June last, the ad valorem rates have been 25 per cent., 30 per cent., and 35 per cent. Australian chamois leather- is made from the same material as the imported article. Of course, it is merely a name. The Swiss chamois is not nearly numerous enough to provide skins with which to meet the world's demaud. The leather produced in Australia has been supplied . to the local market on the basis of1s.8d. per square foot. During the war the wholesale price of the imported article was 2s. 6d. per square foot. Americans are now exporting it to this country for less than1s.8d., which is the minimum at which our manufacturers can continue to carry on. In view of the impost proposed from the first day of next year, the Americans are. now sending their product over to Australia in great quantities. The local firm from which I have ascertained some particulars states that it is placing on the . market at present £150 worth of chamois leather per month. It is employing a considerable number of hands ; and it can easily double and treble its output if it is not hampered or crushed. I propose that rates, respect tively, of 25, 30, and 35 per cent, shall become operative immediately" upon Parliament finally passing the Customs Tariff Bill. The effect will be, upon the general Tariff, to- add 15 per cent, to that which is proposed to be imposed from the- 1st January next. I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to- amend sub-item (a) by leaving out the words "And on and after 1st January-, 1922."

Senator Keating - The honorable senator will fail to secure his objective if. the words are deleted and the duties are not subsequently amended as he requires. Would it not be wise, first, to request the amendment of the rates of duty?

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