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Thursday, 17 November 1921

Senator LYNCH - I want something more definite. This is not business. The Minister for Trade and Customs continues in general terms -

As the policy of this Department is to encourage Australian manufacturing industries, and as there is no doubt that these plants have been, and can be, manufactured locally, and numerous other importers have been refused the concession now asked by Messrs. Leslie and Company, it is regretted that the decision already conveyed cannot be varied.

Yours faithfully,

W.   Massy Greene.

What is most evident in the matter is the mass of contradictions. In the meantime duty is paid on these machines, and they are not manufactured here. It is about time wei got "to business, and asked whether this duty must be paid by struggling engineerins; firms throughout Australia, who want to take advantage of uptodate machinery, when the imposition of the duty provides no compensating advantage in the manufacture of the machinery here and the giving of employment to Australians. I -am willing to admit that there has been a misapprehension in this case, but it is very serious that in the meantime manufacturers in this country are being penalized because of confusion which has arisen, and for which the Department of . Trade and Customs is largely to blame. I could go- into detail in explaining to the Committee what is done in other parts of the world, hut that is not necessary. The Western Australian firm to which I have referred desires to introduce this up-to-date plant, and cannot do so without paying an extravagant duty. It should be unnecessary to remind any practical man that by the use of this particular device repairs can be made at a cost which has fairly revolutionized repair work in this country. A shaft broken in the interior of the country may be sent down to an engineering firm, and at once repaired, or the machine may be sent to the place at which the machinery requiring repair has been in use and the repair effected on the spot.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to8p.m.

Senator LYNCH - I have emphasized the necessity for the Trade and Customs Department securing full and accurate particulars from any person or firm, in the Commonwealth making these electrical outfits which are subject to duty at present. Correspondence, which has come to me first-hand, shows that there must be a miscalculation on the part of the Department, or that it has a high degree of confidence in the stories told by local manfacturing companies. I desire to be assured that the Department will not continue to levy duties upon devices of this character, which are not turned out in the Commonwealth. It is clear that the electrical welding apparatus is not being made in Australia at present; yet a duty of between £60 and £70 has been collected upon each outfit imported. I oppose the motion.

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