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Thursday, 10 June 1926

Senator CRAWFORD (QUEENSLAND) . - I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to make sub-item (b) (second occurring) read as follows: -

And on and after 1st July, 1926 - " (b) Vessels, n.e.i., trading intra-state or interstate, or otherwise employed in Australian waters for any continuous period of three months, excepting vessels exceeding 500 tons gross register in respect of which firm orders were placed with oversea suppliers before the date on which the deferred duty comes into operation, and which are actually entered at an Australian port within fifteen months from such date, ad valorem; British, 25 per cent. ; intermediate, 30 per cent.; general 35 per cent."

The purpose of this request is to place a time limit within which large vessels ordered before the date on which the deferred duty comes into operation, must actually arrive in Australia to obtain free entry. As the item now reads, " On and after 1st July, 1926," the rates of duty will be, British, 25 per cent. ; intermediate, 30 per cent. ; and general, 35 per cent., unless further deferred. The request for an amendment of the item is to prevent a company from ordering a ship between now and the 1st July next, for delivery, say, two or three years hence. The operation of the deferred duty will mean that the Australian industry has been established on a firm basis, capable of turning out vessels of larger sizes. It would then be detrimental to the Australian industry if the free entry of vessels were permitted for a considerable time thereafter. A period of fifteen months is regarded as a reasonable time for all vessels ordered prior to the date on which the deferred duty comes into operation to be imported free of duty.

Senator Grant - Can the Minister inform the committee how many vessels of less than 500 tons burthen have been imported during recent years?

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