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Friday, 1 May 1936

Senator COLLINGS (Queensland.) . - I take this opportunity to suggest that the Government should do more than it is doing at present to encourage the fishing industry. Unfortunately, the possibilities of this magnificent continent, and the waters surrounding it, are not generally realized. The previous British preferential duty on tinned crab was2½d. per lb. ; it is now proposed to reduce it to 1d. per lb. We shall not develop this phase of the fishing industry by reducing the tariff on its products. Other countries have been able to develop their fisheries to an enormous extent. Of course, I realize that the marketing of crustaceans represents only one phase of the industry. In 1933, the yield of the Californian fishing industry was £2,929,813 ;80 per cent, of the income of the industry, or £2,253,367, was paid out in wages, and it gave employment to 67,236 people. I understand that the Government has taken certain action to investigate the possibilities of Australia's fisheries, but it can do much more in that direction. I mention the importance of the fishing industry generally to Australia in connexion with this item, merely to suggest that if we do not build up industries which will help very greatly to populate this country, and thus give us security in times of national stress, we shall not accomplish many of our national ideals; we shall certainly fail to do so by reducing duties on items of this nature. If the Opposition, were sufficiently strong numerically, I would have no hesitation in attempting to have this duty increased.

Under the circumstances, however, I must content myself by making this protest.

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