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Monday, 18 December 1911

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - So far as the development of the fruit-growing industry in Australia is concerned, I think it will be admitted that we ought to be able to grow and preserve sufficient fruit for the whole world.

It is necessary, in some instances, to grant an increase of duty, so as to diminish the very large amount pf revenue which has hitherto been derived from the Tariff, and to which Senator Stewart and some other honorable senators so strongly object.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - In order to permit the manufacturers of those fruits to sell at a lower rate elsewhere, we are to pay an increased duty ?

Senator McGREGOR - If honorable senators seriously object to our proposal, I am quite agreeable to make the duty upon ginger in brine1½d. per lb. Then the lowest class of ginger, namely, green ginger, would be admitted at1d. per lb. ; ginger in brine would be dutiable at1½d. per lb., and preserved ginger at 3d. per lb. I would remind the Committee that during a period of four years the value of the imports under this heading has increased by more than £19,000. Another reason why these duties are proposed is that, in dealing with imports of this description, our Customs officers find it difficult to determine . where preserved fruits end and preserved vegetables begin. Our idea is to protect the fruit-preserving industry, and to make the Tariff easier of administration by drawing no distinction between fruit preserving and pickling. If honorable senators desire it, I am quite prepared to move in the direction of making ginger in brine n.e.i. dutiable at1½d. per lb.

Senator Millen - Nobody has asked for that.

Senator McGREGOR - Some have asked for it. They say that there ought to be a margin between the duty upon green ginger, which is the lowest form of ginger, the duty upon ginger in brine, and that upon preserved ginger.

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