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Wednesday, 16 November 1927

Senator THOMPSON (Queeusland) . - I wish to direct the attention of the Government to a phase of this question which has a bearing on the mining industry in Queensland. I questioned the mover of the motion, by interjection, but he only partly replied. He is probably not aware that hardwood, and not Oregon, is used in the Queensland mines.

Senator Herbert Hays - I thought that the honorable senator was referring to Broken Hill.

Senator THOMPSON - I was referring to the Queensland mines; I am not conversant with the conditions that exist in the other States. Every mine in Queensland, but particularly the Mr Morgan mine, which has one of the finest square set systems of timbering in the world, uses hardwood. Queensland possesses remarkably fine hardwoods; it does not give place even to Tasmania in that respect. A celebrated Swedish scientist, after an. inspection of North Queeusland, informed me the other day that that portion of the State had a prodigality of decorative woods that were not equalled in any other part of the world.. The protection of the timber industry, but particularly its hardwood section, must have an immediate reaction upon the price of hardwood in Queensland, and render still more difficult the problem of those who are endeavouring to carry on mining operations. A year or two ago, when a. move along similar lines was- made to obtain protection for the timber industry, the Mr Morgan Gold- Mining. Company Limited voiced a strong protest against it, and stressed the effect which the suggested protection, if granted, would have upon that struggling mine. To-day, unhappily, the Mr Morgan mine, although still operating, is faced' with the possibility of having to close down. Efforts are being; made to avoid that contingency, but they are not likely to be consummated if a further impost is placed- on timber, because it would be but another' - and that the last - straw on the back of the camel. There is also a further aspect of this matter. The royalty which is charged by the Queensland Government; can be described as nothing less than outrageous. I have- the impression that if the price of timber is increased' in consequence of the imposition of an additional duty, the rapacious State

Government in Queeusland will supplement it by a further royalty charge, and the benefit of the duty will then be very largely discounted. 1 trust that when the Government is considering, the report of the Tariff Board it will pay particular attention to the practical aspects that I have indicated.

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