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Wednesday, 6 May 1936

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) . - The Tariff Board does not take into consideration future increases of the wages paid by a particular industry; it bases its report on the conditions ruling at the time. On the 1st March, 1935, wages in the agricultural machinery industry advanced by 2s. a week

On a cost-of-living adjustment, and from the 1st March, 1936, the Arbitration Court reduced working hours in factories from 48 to 46 a week, with no reduction of wages. These two factors increased the costs of the industry by nearly 3 per cent., and the advances of prices, to which reference has been made, did not recoup the manufacturers for that increase. The cost of workmen's compensation during the same year increased by 106 per cent., meaning an additional outlay to one firm alone of £2,000 per annum. Advice received from Toronto discloses that the Massey Harris Company has made a general increase of retail prices by 3.48 per cent. The increase of manufacturers' prices in the United States of America is 5.28 per cent. Therefore, I contend that Australian manufacturers are treating their clients remarkably well.

Giving the 1911 prices for machinery of this class an index figure of 1,000, the comparative costs in recent years have been as follows: -


The increase of costs in 1936 was responsible for the index figure rising to 1212, which is smaller than the figure for 1933 and only slightly larger than that for 1934. Those are the latest statistics supplied by the department.

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