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Thursday, 14 May 1936

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) . - The proposed item will have the effect of making all sodium carbonate, whether described as soda ash or as carbonate of soda, classifiable at the rate applicable to soda ash instead of at different rates of duty. Carbonate of soda, previously dutiable at 40s. per ton, or 25 per cent. British preferential tariff, but admissible in commercial or technical grades in packages exceeding 10 lb. for all purposes under by-law, is now bracketed with soda ash at free, British preferential tariff. I think that this explanation will satisfy the honorable senator; there has simply been a reclassification.

Senator Payne - I am referring particularly to bicarbonate of soda.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I am informed that bicarbonate of soda is still admissible under by-law. I am not aware of the technical reason for this reclassification. A general tariff rate of 40s. a ton is now proposed on carbonate of soda instead of admission by by-law at 15 per cent. or the tariff rate of 80s. a ton, or 45 per cent. This is equivalent to an increase of duty through the cancellation of the by-law, although it is a decrease of 40s. a ton or 45 per cent. in the tariff. Under the bylaw mentioned, bicarbonate of soda, commercial or technical grades, unmixed or combined with other ingredients, is admitted free. Apparently the department has classified bicarbonate of soda and carbonate of soda in two divisions. One covers the article with which we are familiar in our homes; on the other, the commercial class, which is manufactured in Australia, this duty has been imposed.

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