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Wednesday, 31 August 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - Within the last day or two, very strong representations have been made to me in connexion with this item by Melbourne and Sydney firms interested in making doors. I can understand how it is that no such representations have been made to the Department for Trade and Customs. It is owing to the uncertainty that has existed in regard to what this Committee might do in respect to the main timber items. The position is now. settled in that respect. The main timber duties, by the action of this Committee, have been further increased, and now the position is that the duties on doors must also be altered. Otherwise in consequence of the raw material having had twice the duty placedon it as was expected by the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) in framing the Tariff, the makers of doors in Australia must go out of business. Doors are being offered at extraordinarily low prices to-day.

Senator Pearce - Last year, Australia imported only £100 worth of doors.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Exactly , because of the Tariff that was then in operation. The duties on doors ought now to be in consonance with the higher duties imposed on the raw material.

Senator Pearce - The duties on doors have been practically prohibitive ever since 1913.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Doors and window sashes are made of imported softwoods, and the present duties- upon them bear some relation to the original duty of 1s. per 100 super, feet on the raw material, as was originally intended by the Minister for Trade and Customs; but when that rate has been raised to 4s., and another rate of 3s. to 5s. 6d., and still another rate of 3s. 6d. to 7s. - all on the raw material from which these doors are madei - then it follows that the existing duties on doors do' not continue to bear any sort of relation to the rates upon imported softwoods. I hope that the Minister will see his way clear to accept a 50 per cent.' advance upon the duties on doors in order that they. may have some relativity to the action taken by the Committee last night in increasing the main timber duties.

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