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Thursday, 10 June 1926

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) .- I move-

That the House of Representatives be requested to amend sub-item (u) (4) 'by inserting after the word " Tyres " the words " or storage batteries."

Under the Government's proposals the duty on batteries, which come here as part of car chassis, will be 7£ per cent. British and 12^ per cent, general, whereas batteries imported to replace those supplied as part of the original car equipment bear a duty of 27-J per cent. British and 40 per cent, general. I desire that the duty on all batteries shall be 27£ per cent. British, and 40 per cent, general. In the interests of. Australian tire manufacturers, tires imported as part of a chassis bear the same duty as tire.-: imported separately; but batteries imported as part of car equipment are admitted at a lower rate than are the batteries imported to replace them. Parliament has refused to accept tires as part of the chassis. The same rule should apply to batteries. Batteries for replacement purposes are now not being imported; they are manufactured locally by the United States Light and Heat Corporation of Australia Limited, and the Clyde Engineering Company Limited, both of Sydney. The former is a purely Australian company, which took over the rights of the United States Light and Heat Corporation of America, and is producing batteries which are identical with those made by the parent company. I am informed that its factory in Sydney ' is capable of manufacturing 120,000 batteries per annum. That number is sufficient to supply almost the whole of the battery requirements of the Commonwealth. The Clyde Engineering Company Limited, of Clyde,' Sydney, is also making a high-class battery. In its battery department 47 persons are employed, and £27,000 invested. Its present output is 27,000 batteries per annum., and I am informed that in 60 days that could be increased to 100,000 batteries per annum. Thus we have two companies in Australia either of which could supply practically the whole of the Australian battery requirements. Their product is giving entire satisfaction to Australian users. I invite honorable senators to see, in the Senate Club Room, some of the batteries made by these companies. Their finish is superior to that of the batteries which are imported as part of car equipment, and which are permitted to enter at a lower rate.

Senator Findley - What is the value of a battery?

Senator DUNCAN - I have not that information with me, but I can assure the honorable senator that Australian batteries are not only better, but also cheaper than imported batteries. The question of price, therefore, does not arise. I seek only that all batteries entering Australia shall pay the same duty as that now imposed on batteries imported for replacement purposes. I am informed that if the batteries in imported chassis are charged a duty at the rate applying to batteries unattached it will mean the manufacture in Australia of over 250,000 storage batteries. If my request is agreed to I shall then ask the committee to request a reduction of the duties on chassis unassembled.

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