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Monday, 24 May 1965

Senator SCOTT (Western Australia) . - I want to say a few words on this measure, which is related to the Sulphuric Acid Bounty Bill. The Government decided to adopt the recommendations contained in the Tariff Board's report of 1959. That report recommended that the bounty should be split up between the producers of sulphuric acid and the producers of pyrites, whereas,- under the previous legislation, the bounty was always paid on the production of sulphuric acid, whatever the ingredients from which it was produced. It is interesting to note that the Government has decided to adopt the recommendations contained in the Tariff Board's report, which left it to tha

Government to decide whether to pay a bounty of £3 or a bounty of £7 a ton on sulphur, whichever it thought more appropriate having regard to its interpretation of its obligation in respect of the average cost or the highest cost of Australian produced pyrites - with certain provisions.

This has been a controversial subject for many years. It dates back to 1951 or 1962, when the Government said to the producers of sulphuric acid: " We expect you, within the next three or four years, to increase your production to an amount which will cater for at least 60 per cent, of Australia's requirements, and to enable you to do this we will pay you an adequate bounty." The producers did this. Then because of the ready availability of brimstone from America, the Government changed its policy. It recognised that it had some obligations to the producers. I want to know whether we think we are doing the right thing by the producers of pyrites in taking the lower figure, as mentioned in the Tariff Board's report. The report, which was made on 20th June 1960, states specifically that the higher cost producers are those who have installed plant ot a more recent date, they are the people who require the additional amount of £7 per ton of 100 per cent, sulphuric acid.

I mention this matter because I hope that the Government, having decided to alter its policy in respect of the production of sulphuric acid, will have regard to the people who recently have spent large sums of money on equipment that has cost considerably more than it would have cost in 1951 or 1952. I hope that the Government will consider this matter when a further Bill dealing with this industry is introduced into this chamber in approximately six months time.

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