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Wednesday, 19 May 1965

Senator ANDERSON (New South Wales) (Minister for Customs and Excise) . - I thank Senator Benn for his contribution to the debate and his statement that the Opposition will support the Bill. I congratulate him on the research he has made into this rather complex matter. According to my brief, tho information he gave about the basic product and its development was accurate.

In his general statements in relation to protection he made the point that gainful employment for our people was to be found in such a policy. He may be interested to know that in the organisation at Rhodes, New South Wales, where cellulose acetate flake is produced, some 340 people are employed. That is quite a considerable number of employees. The product is then made available to Courtaulds (Australia) Ltd., which is a big industrial undertaking at Raymond Terrace in the Newcastle area, where a vast number of people is employed.

Rayon grade cellulose acetate flake is used in the manufacture of cellulose acetate yarn, lt is produced in conjunction with other acetyl products using ethyl alcohol, a by-product of the sugar industry, as a raw material. Senator Benn referred to the use of timber. I would think that the degree to which it is used would hardly be a case for the development of local production of this kind of wood. Nevertheless, I will refer his comments to the Minister for National Development (Mr. Fairbairn) who administers the Forestry and Timber Bureau.

Following a Tariff Board inquiry it is fell that the payment of a bounty is a far more effective way to assist the industry than by the imposition of a tariff. Protective duties tend to lead to increased costs whereas a bounty has the effect of holding costs static. The bounty in being reduced from 7(1. per lb. to 6d. per lb., but the annual limit of bounty payable is being increased from £90,000 to £112,000.

The Bill extends the life of the bounty for a further period of three years from 1 9th March 1965. lt carries the normal delegation clauses which are common to all bounty bills because, as honorable senators will appreciate, in the payment of bounty to an industry speed is of the essence of the contract. The Minister for Customs and Excise, who administers the bounty bills, therefore has some powers of delegation. The bounty payments are subject to audit and check.

Senator Wright - How many companies will benefit from the Bill?

Senator ANDERSON - In this case, one.

Senator Wright - Which one?

Senator ANDERSON - C.S.R. Chemicals Pty. Ltd. of Rhodes, New South Wales. Although only one company is involved in the payment of bounty on this particular type of acetate flake, it is part of a big complex in this field.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.

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