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Wednesday, 13 May 1936

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) . - The findings of the Tariff Board in relation to cylinder sleeves for tractors are given in its report of the 18th February, 1935. On page 7 the board stated -

The request was based on the ground that these parts were now commercially manufactured in Australia, and were no longer entitled to by-law admission.

Representatives of the " Caterpillar " and " Twin City " tractor interests strongly protested against granting the request, on the ground that sleeves for the tractors handled by them could not be commercially manufactured in Australia.

After discussion, a compromise was effected between the parties, whereby a diameter of 5 inches was accepted as a dividing line, the importers consenting to the imposition of duty on sleeves of an internal diameter up to f> inches, mid the local manufacturers conceding by-law admission of sleeves exceeding that measurement.

The local manufacturers have developed the production of tractor sleeves under by-law rates of duty and are producing a satisfactory article for the smaller-sized oil and petrol engines, but .they still have to prove their capacity to manufacture the larger-sized sleeves suitable for the Diesel engine.

The board is satisfied that an internal diameter of 5 inches, as suggested by the parties concerned, represents a fair division between the two classes of engines, and the limit of satisfactory manufacture reached in this line in Australia at the date of the inquiry.

As I indicated earlier, 1 shall, on the conclusion of the examination of the tariff by the committee, send a memorandum to the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White) in connexion with a number of items. I shall include this item in my memorandum.

Item agreed to.

Items 178 and 179 agreed to.

Item ISO (Gas meters, wireless receivers, sparking plugs, &c).

SenatorLECKIE (Victoria.) 1 11.23 1 . - There has been considerable reduction of the duties on sparking plugs. Previously these articles were subject to duties of British ls. 6d. or ad valorem 33J per cent., and general ls. 9d. or ad valorem. 65 per cent. ; the rates are now ls. or 30 per cent., and ls. 4d. or 57i per cent, respectively. Importations of sparking plugs which, in 1931-1932, represented a value of about £15,000 have increased to £44,000 per annum. The proposed reduction of the duty will strike Australian manufacturers of sparking plugs a blow from which I doubt whether they will recover. As locally-made sparking plugs have proved entirely satisfactory, the great increase of the use of internal combustion engines opens up a wide field for Australian manufacturers. I am afraid that in this instance the Tariff Board has not taken into consideration all the facts such as the returning prosperity in Australia and the reduced wages in other countries.

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