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Wednesday, 20 March 1957

Mr BEALE (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Supply) - I take it that the main disadvantage from which he would suggest his State suffers is distance and the consequent cost of transport from Western Australia to Melbourne, Sydney or other centres that may require goods for which tenders are called. In that connexion, it has for some time been the practice of the Department of Supply, in calling for tenders, to ask for prices f.o.b. or f.o.r. the capital city in question - for example, Perth. This practice means that merchants, traders or manufacturers in Western Australia are not at a disadvantage when competing with tenderers in States nearer at hand. That is a quite considerable matter, and such has been the policy of the department for some time. Within the limits of the general policy on tendering, which has to be fairly consistent, we endeavour to look sympathetically upon Western Australian manufacturers because we realize that Western Australia is a small State in which merchants and manufacturers are seeking to build up their businesses. But, of course, that is not the whole story. A great many aspects of this matter, such as costs and prices, are, I should say, very much matters for the Western Australian Government. If it is desired that tenderers in Western Australia should be in a better position to compete with tenderers in the bigger States, it is surely up to that State government to do what it can in its sphere to enable tenders from Western Australia to be more competitive.

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