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Thursday, 1 September 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - The Minister (Senator Pearce) has sounded a very encouraging note concerning the establishment of this industry in the Commonwealth, but it is necessary to take into account the other industry that will be so vitally affected by the imposition of these stiff duties. I am' sure 'it is no pleasure for honorable senators to recall to mind the present unsatisfactory position of the mining industry. The records are there. As far as the metalliferous side of the industry is concerned, it is many years since it was at such a low ebb as to-day, and yet here is a proposal to increase the cost ' of ari essential requirement. These wire ropes do not last a very great length of time. Immediately a rope shows the least sign of wear it is condemned by a mining inspector, and it is necessary for the company to replace it. I realize how important it is to start an industry of this description in Australia, but it is not- a good, sound policy to call upon another industry struggling to keep itself alive to bear the whole of the cost necessary to bring about its establishment. The mining industry, particularly metalliferous mining, is in quite a different category from other industries; it cannot pass on the increased cost of production. I think that the Government could well adopt a device quite ready to its hands for encouraging the industry of wire-rope making, namely, the giving of a bonus to it until it reaches a stage when it can be relied upon to provide an ample output at a reasonable price. At any rate, the imposition of a duty upon wire ropes will place the mining industry, which already has a gloomy outlook, in a still more unsatisfactory position. If the condition of the mining industry were buoyant, I would be pleased to support the Minister's proposal for a deferred duty, but I support Senator DrakeBrockman' s request, because it is at the present time unable to bear the whole weight of establishing the wire-rope making industry in Australia, and because I consider that the responsibility for affording encouragement to this new industry is one that properly belongs to the whole community.

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