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Friday, 18 November 1921

Senator WILSON (South Australia) . - Those competent to express an opinion on this subject are the persons who are directly and financially concerned in the manufacture of lactose. What do they say about these ad valorem duties? They tell us that, during the war, importers of this article were getting 4s. 6d. per lb. for it, and they are now prepared to dump it into Australia for a. few pence per lb. When we considered the matter previously, I told honorable senators that the manufacture of lactose is a side line ' of the dairying industry, and I reminded them that the Commonwealth and State Governments have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds in settling returned soldiers on irrigation blocks to carry on the dairying industry. If Australia is to be made a dumping ground by importers of this article, the local industry cannot he carried on. The Senate requested the imposition of specific duties of 6d., 9d., and ls. per lb. on lactose, and I personally tried to induce honorable senators to agree to duties of 9d.. ls., and ls. 3d. per lb. The Department presented such a case to Senator Pearce, and (that Minister made such a plea for me to accept the modification, that I very reluctantly did so. If the other Chamber had been conversant with the effect of this alteration of duty, it would not have agreed to it. Within the last hour I have received a note from the manager of a cooperative company which contemplates establishing a factory at Murray Bridge for the manufacture of lactose. Such a factory would enable1 the returned soldiers settled in that locality to get the full benefit of their efforts in. connexion' with dairying.

Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - And they need it, too.

Senator WILSON - The letter states-

We note that, the Government has knocked out the fixed duty, although increasing the ad valorem duty by 10 per cent. This .will give opportunities for dumping, and, unless ft. fixed duty is in force, even if you have to accept the 9d. a lb. instead of ls., we are afraid that it will be ton risky for us to spend ' £25,000 at Murray Bridge.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - So 30 per cent., 35 per cent., and 40 per cent, isnot regarded as enough?

Senator WILSON - I want a fixed duty of 6d., 9d., and ls. a lb. This cooperative company cannot be expected tospend £20,000 or £30,000 unless it is sura of its ground. The price of this article was 4s. 6d. per lb. when we had to import it.

Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - Where is it likely to be dumped from?

Senator WILSON - America.. We know the trading peculiarities of the Americans, and every encouragement will be needed by the local industry.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) -YOU are1 asking for over 100 per cent. It has been claimed by some honorable senators that if an industry cannot continue with a protection of 20 per cent, it deserves togo. out of existence. »

Senator WILSON - Every case should bo treated on its merits1. There is no other way pf dealing with a Tariff.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Every case in. its own State.

Senator WILSON - I am not parochial in asking for this protection in the interests of the returned soldiers. The Minister in charge (Senator E. D. Millen) has made out no case to show that the Committee should go back on a straight-out duty. The letter which I have quoted shows clearly that unless such a duty is imposed the industry cannot be established.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - There are two? such manufactories in operation now. If they can be carried on, I do> not see why the South Australian venture should not be.

Senator WILSON - I have been fighting the Tariff to the best of my ability, but in this particular instance it will be necessary to grant a straight-out duty in the' interests of returned soldiers engaged in dairying.

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