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Friday, 9 March 1928


Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) . - I should like to be furnished with the fullest information as to the possibility of the industry, to which this item refers, being successfully established in the Commonwealth. In previous tariffs the duties have been levied for revenue purposes. As honorable senators know, I am not in favour of duties that fail to encourage the establishment of industries in this country, but governments are prone to take the line of least resistance and therefore impose duties on certain commodities chiefly for revenue purposes. It is obvious that the industry for the manufacture of leather cloth has not yet been established in Australia, otherwise, we should have heard from those interested in it concerning the low rates of duties imposed in previous tariffs. We are now informed by the Minister that there is every likelihood of a company being formed for the manufacture in Australia of this class of goods. Can the Minister say where it will be established?


Senator Crawford - In Melbourne.


Senator FINDLEY - It is immaterial to me whether it is to be started in Melbourne or in any other city of the Commonwealth. My chief concern is to know whether a concrete proposal has been submitted to the Government, and if the proposed duties will be sufficient to enable the industry to be conducted successfully. To me they appear to be low, being only 20 per cent, in respect of British goods, 25 per cent, in the intermediate tariff and 35 per cent, in the general tariff. Is the Minister satisfied that the industry can be established with a 20 per cent, margin of protection? -


Senator Crawford - I understand that a company has* already acquired the necessary machinery and is prepared to make a "start.


Senator FINDLEY - Did that company take action before the new duties were levied?


Senator Crawford - The people concerned knew for some time what measure of protection the Government proposed to give.


Senator FINDLEY - Then can the Minister say if the company is satisfied with the proposed duties ?


Senator Crawford - Yes; the effective duty will be 35 per cent, since leather cloth is not imported from Great Britain. All of it comes from America.


Senator FINDLEY - It is news to me that no leather cloth is imported from countries other than America, and I have some doubt on the point.


Senator Crawford - I am assured that the class of leather cloth which the Australian company proposes to manufacture comes only from America.


Senator FINDLEY - That is a different statement. If what the Minister now says is correct, I shall offer no objection to the proposed duties.

Item agreed to, subject to a request.

Items 106, 107, and 108 agreed to.

Item 112 (Apparel or attire, including furs) -







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