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Thursday, 17 November 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- Honorable senators will see that in dealing with these items previously we were careful to provide that the raw material imported for the manufacture of barbed wire and wire netting should be dutiable at a lower rate than the finished article. In considering the duty on wire netting, honorable senators should give attention to the following item, on which we previously requested a duty of 44s. per ton as against 52s. agreed to by another place. In the circumstances, we are justified in pressing our request for a reduced duty on wire netting. If we had not requested a reduction of the duty on the raw material, we should not be justified in opposing the motion. It is unnecessary to repeat what was said when this item was previously considered. Wire netting is essential to farmers and other occupiers of land, who are at their wits' end to know what to do to make their operations profitable, with wire netting at present prices. Unfortunately, the rabbit scourge is increasing instead of decreasing in, Australia. In the district in which I reside, along the north-west coast of Tasmania, we were until recent years free from the rabbit scourge; but to-day rabbits are found in the district in large numbers. In that and other districts in Australia the one hope of the farmer is to wire-net his property. We can in this instance give some relief to the farmer by pressing our request, when at the same time we provide the necessary protection for the industry here by proposing to reduce the duty on the raw material it uses.

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