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Thursday, 8 March 1928

Senator CRAWFORD (QueenslandHonorary Minister) . - I trust honorable senators will not support the request moved by Senator Ogden. The schedule provides for an additional duty of 3s. per cwt. under the intermediate and. general tariffs which has been imposed largely in the interests of Australian maize growers. I do not think maize is grown in Tasmania.

Senator Payne - Yes, it is.

Senator CRAWFORD - Its production is undertaken on an extensive scale in the mainland States, and the growers are in serious competition with the maize produced in America, Java and other countries. This matter was exhaustively investigated by the Tariff Board before which evidence was given for and against the request for a higher duty. The Board Said that in order to compete with the low American price the Australian manufacturer was obliged in some cases to operate on a very narrow margin of profit, and that in one instance without any profit at all. .In its report the Board stated that " the Australian maize was costing the local manufacturer from 4s. 7-£d. per bushel - the present price is from 5s. 7d. to 5s. 9d. per bushel - as against the American price of 4s. ltd in July, 1925; 3s. 2d. in October, 1925, and 2s. lOd. per bushel in March, 1926." I trust that in the interests of those engaged in the production of. maize, which affords a precarious livelihood, the request will not receive the support of honorable senators. About 500,000 bushels of maize are used annually in Australia in the manufacture of glucose, and the additional duty cannot seriously affect the confectionery industry, which enjoys very high protection: Only a few fancy lines of confectionery are at present imported. That is why overseas firms combined and established a branch factory in Tasmania.

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