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Wednesday, 23 June 1937

Senator COLLETT (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that there is in Australia, and particularly in Western Australia, a serious shortage in the supply of certain sizes of galvanized iron?

2.   If so, is it known that as a result of such shortage, considerable delay occurs in building construction, with consequent heavy loss to merchants, manufacturers and tradesmen?

3.   Is it also a fact that the landed cost of galvanized iron imported from Great Britain greatly exceeds that of the locally made article?

4.   If the facts are as stated above, what action, if any, can the Government take to remedy the position?

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - The Minister for Trade and Customs supplies the following answers: -

1.   Supplies of galvanized iron throughout Australia are somewhat restricted, but no specific instance in which a serious shortage has occurred has conic under notice.No complaint whatsoever has been received from Western Australia.

2.   No instance has come under notice in which building construction has been considerably delayed through a shortage of galvanized iron.

3.   Yes.

4.   The Government has already taken all steps possible to remedy the position. The co-operation of the Australian manufacturer in the direction of increasing output to the maximum capacity of available plant has been sought, with successful results. In addition, in March last, authority was given for the importation under Customs Tariff By-law at rates of Free (British Preferential Tariff) 15 percent. (General Tariff); of a quantity of 8,000 tons of galvanized iron. This concession has been availed of only to a minor extent for the following reasons: -

(a)   The difficulty in obtaining iron from overseas, except in limited quantities.

(b)   The high price of imported iron when compared with that charged for Australian made iron.

In fairness to the Australian manufacturers it should be mentionedthat there is a general world shortage of practically all iron and steel products. The price of Australian made galvanized iron is at present below world parity and in the interests of Australian users the manufacturers are making every endeavour to prevent re-sellers exporting Australian iron to other countries.

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