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Wednesday, 9 June 1926

Senator H HAYS (Tasmania) . - Senator Needham hardly put the position, as stated by Senator Payne, fairly. There is no question as . to whether a super-Diesel roller is superior to a steam roller. The main point is that steam rollers are not being manufactured in Australia, or. if they are, then only on a limited scale. But the super-Diesel engine is manufactured here, and I believe it is a fine machine. It is not for this committee to compel anybody to use the super-Diesel engine exclusively. If the super-Diesel engine is all that it is claimed to be, we should give to this established Australian industry the protection necessary; but we should not penalize the users of steam engines, which are not manufactured commercially in Australia.

Senator Crawford - Since the additional duty was imposed, the price of the imported article has been reduced by £100.

Senator H HAYS - But why should we penalize those who prefer to use steam engines ?

Senator Crawford - Apparently, no one wishes to use them.

Senator H HAYS - That is not so. There are places in Australia where the question of fuel determines the kind of machine used. In some of our outback districts, timber for fuel is plentiful, and, consequently steam road rollers are more economical than are others. The ordinary steam engine employed in road construction is frequently used to drive a stone crusher.

Senator Pearce - Cannot steam road rollers be made in Australia ?

Senator H HAYS - They are not being commercially manufactured here. I understand that the policy of the Government is to protect industries already established in Australia, but not to impose duties in respect of industries still to be established.

Senator Crawford - Steam road rollers compete with oil-driven rollers.

Senator H HAYS - Why should they not compete? Is it the province of this committee to say that the people of Australia shall use only super-Diesel engines in road construction ?

Senator Crawford - We are not. attempting to say that : but, we must place the same import duty on both machines.

Senator H HAYS - That is absolutely unfair. I shall assist the Government to give ample protection to the manufacturers of rollers driven by super-Diesel engines, which are made in Australia ; but I cannot understand why they should be coupled with steam road rollers, which, besides being preferable in some districts, arc not made in Australia. ' The road rollers used in Australia are, with very few exceptions, British made.

Senator Pearce - That is not to say that they cannot be made here.

Senator H HAYS - The fact remains that they are not being made here. Moreover, no representations have been made by the Australian manufacturers of steam road rollers for this additional protection, although the makers of superDiesel engines have asked for it. The Minister is adopting an unfair attitude and unduly penalizing those who prefer the steam road roller.

Senator Needham - Not necessarily.

Senator H HAYS - Yes, because the . imported steam road roller has to bear the same duty as the super-Diesel engine.

Senator Needham - Would not the honorable senator obtain the best article 1

Senator H HAYS - In the cities, the super-Diesel roller is undoubtedly better; but in the outback districts, where timber for fuel is plentiful, the position is different. If the Government will separate the two items, I shall support the increased duty on super-Diesel engines, but not on steam road rollers.

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