Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 10 June 1926

Senator REID (Queensland) .- I recently visited the Sydney works of the company that proposes to engage in the manufacture of sheet glass. It is spending £300,000 on the plant, and is engaging a large number of Australian mechanics in the building of the factory with Australian materials. I was astonished to see the great variety of fancy glassware - goods that hitherto have been imported from abroad - being made at these works! I had no idea that such high quality ware could be produced in Australia. The industry has been built up under protection, and the employees now number over 1,600. The wages paid weekly amount to £8,600. The latest machinery has been installed, and some of the work which it does is really marvellous. I advise honorable senators to visit the factory and see for themselves the class of work performed.

Senator Elliott - Has the company not been paying good dividends?

Senator REID - I do not know; but I was delighted with both the variety and the quality of the goods manufactured.

Senator Sir Henry Barwell - The question to be determined is whether an increased duty is necessary.

Senator REID - It is not asked for in respect of glass fancy goods; but it is needed in respect of the class of goods coming from Belgium.

Senator Elliott - Is increased protection against Britain asked for?

Senator REID - That is a question for the Minister. I do not object to British preference ; but where it is a question of giving preference to Britain or of building up an Australian industry, I shall always favour the Australian industry. A good deal has been said of our inefficiency and lack of enterprise. The men in charge of the three departments of the factory to which I have referred are of a very high type; men of indifferent calibre could not have built up such a fine organization. The product of the factory is a credit to Australia. I realize that higher duties on window glass will be reflected in the cost of houses, but the difference will not be ' great. Having been engaged in the building trade for some years, I can say that the increased cost of the glass required for the ordinary workman's home will be about 2s. 6d. It will certainly not be more than 5s.

Senator McLachlan - What is the cost per 100 square feet of 16-oz. glass landed in Australia?

Senator Payne - The British invoice price is 15s. per 100 square feet.

Senator REID - Glass to the value of £34,910 was imported last year from Great Britain. From Belgium our imports of glass during the same period represented £126,395. Belgium is our chief competitor, because factory conditions there make it difficult for us to compete with their product. "Unless higher duties are placed on sheet glass, this country will be flooded with cheap glass from Belgium, to the detriment of this Australian industry. After the factory has established the manufacture of sheet glass on a sound basis, the manufacture of plate glass will be undertaken. In this direction there are great prospects before the industry. It is becoming the custom, not only in our cities, but even in nearly every small country town, to have uptodate plate-glass windows in the shops. The manufacture of glass is an important industry to Australia. -

Senator Kingsmill - I understand that it is doing very well.

Senator REID - I am pointing out the almost inexhaustible field ahead of this industry. This factory is up to date ; it is making articles of good quality, and it should be encouraged. But unless additional protection is given, as proposed, it will be unable to compete with the product of Belgium glass factories.

Suggest corrections