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Friday, 1 May 1936

Senator LECKIE (Victoria) .- The making of biscuits is an industry which should receive the whole-hearted support of the representatives of the primary producers of this country, for practically all the raw materials used in their manufacture are grown in Australia. Those raw materials - flour, sugar, butter and dried fruits - have to pay the 25 per cent. exchange, and, in addition, butter, dried fruits and sugar have other charges to meet. We are approaching very close to the margin of safety in a big industry. Earlier in this tariff debate I was asked whether Australia was able to export any manufactured product. Here is one. Although Australia exported 73,000 lb. of biscuits in 1934-35, that quantity was exceeded in previous years, when large quantities were sent to Colombo and other Eastern ports. Our export trade in biscuits was practically destroyed by a shipping strike, and only with difficulty is it gradually being recovered. This is an ideal industry to encourage. Possessing efficient plant, it is being properly conducted, whilst the biscuits produced are of a quality comparable with that of any which can be produced elsewhere. Over 3,000 hands are employed in the industry, which pays over £400,000 annually in wages. Thus it is worth encouraging in the interests not only of the manufacturers, but also of the primary producers, whose raw material it uses entirely and purchases at high prices.

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