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Friday, 15 May 1936

Senator COLLINGS (Queensland) , - I note that carpet sweepers manufactured in Great Britain are subject to a duty of 10 per cent., and importations from foreign parts are subject to a duty of 35 per cent., under both the intermediate and general tariffs. The Minister in charge of the bill (Senator A. J. Mclachlan) should give honorable senators some information upon this matter. A carpet sweeper is not an article which cannot be manufactured in Australia ; it is not complicated mechanically, so that there should he no insurmountable engineering difficulties in the way , of making a thoroughly effective article.

Senator A.J. MCLACHLAN (South Australia - Postmaster-General) [3.84/). - The effect of the proposals is to increase the rates of duty under the British preferential tariff aud general tariff by 10 per cent. The rate of duty in the intermediate tariff is at the same level as applies to the general tariff. The exchange corrective will provide, under par exchange conditions, for rates of duty of 30 per cent. British preferential tariff, and 55 per cent, intermediate and general tariffs. The action now being taken is consequential upon the Tariff Board's report of the 17th April, 1935. Except for the fact that the general tariff rate has been adjusted to comply with the Government's obligations under the Ottawa agreement, the proposed rates of duty in the British preferential tariff and general tariff columns are in accord with the recommendations of the Tariff Board. Australian requirements of carpet sweepers are estimated to approximate 22,000 per annum. There is only one local manufacturer, who commenced operations in 1932. Production in 1938-34 amounted to 1,200 sweepers, spread ' over four models. It is claimed that the capacity of the factory is 31,000 carpet sweepers per annum, and it is capable of meeting all of the requirements of the Commonwealth. The Australian manufacturer faces competition from two or three well-known makes of carpet sweepers from the United Kingdom and Canada. Except in respect of the highest-priced model, the local carpet sweepers sell at prices closely competitive with sweepers imported duty free from those countries. Comparative prices, landed cost into large retail stores, are as follows: -

Practically all of the raw material used by the local manufacturer is of Australian origin.

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