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Wednesday, 9 June 1926

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- I am glad that I submitted my amendment, since it has led to the discussion of a number of important points. Senator Lynch expressed surprise that the item did not refer to ordinary rollers; but I point out that " rollers n.e.i." include internal combustion engines. I am told that the price of an effective British steam-roller is £700. The duty on the last one imported amounted to £212, and the duty under the new tariff will be £308, an increase of almost £100.

Senator Pearce - Judging by what has happened in the case of other rollers, they will probably come down in price as the result of this duty.

Senator PAYNE - The price quoted by Senator Elliott was £1,375.

Senator Pearce - He quoted also a statement that, since the imposition of the higher duties, the price of the imported roller had been reduced by £100.

Senator PAYNE - I have pointed out that an effective steam roller, at the invoiced price of £700, has been landed in Australia under the 27^ per cent tariff at £912. Therefore the roller quoted by Senator Elliott will cost 50 per cent, more than an effective steam roller imported under the 1921 tariff.

Senator Hoare - Is that a roller operated by steam.

Senator PAYNE - No; but surely it will not be suggested that every muni- cipality should be compelled to use a type of roller laid down by this Parliament.

Senator Kingsmill - Yes, undoubtedly.

Senator PAYNE - Then are we to adopt the role of the autocrat 1

Senator Kingsmill - Yes.

Senator Grant - That is exactly what is being done.

Senator PAYNE - Whether a steamroller or a roller having an internal combustion engine is the more effective and economical machine for the purpose is an open question. I have conferred with persons who use these machines, and I find that there is a wide difference of opinion among them.

Senator Pearce - Does the honorable senator suggest that steam-rollers cannot be made in this country?

Senator PAYNE - No. I point out, however, that up to the end of the last financial year, only one Australian firm was engaged in the manufacture of steam road-rollers. At that date it had produced one, and had two or more in course of construction. That was the total output of the industry, I am told, and I have no reason to doubt the veracity of my informant.

Senator Pearce - That is because all the States except Tasmania have uptodate machines. Tasmania adheres to the old-fashioned plant.

Senator PAYNE - That statement is incorrect. The machines referred to by Senator Elliott have only recently been placed on the market. In Western Australia the local governing authorities use imported steam-rollers.

Senator Pearce - They are buying super-Diesels. They will not have steam rollers; only Tasmania buys them.

Senator PAYNE - Tasmania, as tourists admit, leads in regard to road construction in Australia, and yet the Minister suggests that it adopts obsolete methods.

Senator McHugh - Its roads were made by convicts 100 years ago.

Senator PAYNE - I am referring to the roads constructed by the local governing authorities. The figures I have given should induce the committee to refrain from placing an additional burden upon those who desire to make the roads what they ought to be.

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