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Thursday, 14 May 1936

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) . - Inquiry by the Tariff Board has revealed that large quantities of plain veneers used in the manufacture of common plywood are produced in the Commonwealth, Queensland alone producing 90,000,000 square feet per annum. No evidence was available that plain veneers are imported, and. the local manufacture of plywood is protected under tariff item 291 sr. Duties, however, are required to protect the local industry against importations of Japanese oak and Russian birch and alder veneers which might be used in the manufacture of plywood, to the detriment of the industry using hoop and kauri pine. About 66 per cent. of the annual requirements, valued, at £44,000, of fancy veneers is also manufactured in Australia, and native timber is used. Australian-made veneers valued at £21,774 were exported during 1934-35, principally to the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States of America. It is from these countries that walnut, sycamore, figured mahogany and other fancy veneers are imported. Veneers valued at £13,440 were imported during 1934-35. Local prices range from about 6s. to 60s. per 100 square feet, and the bulk of the sales are in the cheaper range. Evidence given to the Tariff Board tends to show that the local demand for high-quality veneers exceeds the available Australian production. The board considers that all the high-grade veneer produced in Australia will sell readily at good prices regardless of the competition from overseas varieties. The general complaint from Australian furniture manufacturers at the inquiry was in regard to the paucity of supply of highquality veneer of Australian manufacture, and the production figures obtained by the board substantiated the complaint. The board is of the opinion that the British preferential tariff rate recommended by the board will protect local makers against any lines manufactured in the United Kingdom which, because of price, might otherwise displace local veneers, and that, as regards any other lines, the rate is not excessive. Importations have been:


I understand that some of the veneers which are imported are used by local manufacturers in their own businesses. Their interests have not been overlooked by the department, and I give the committee an assurance that this valuable industry will not be imperilled by any careless action on the part of the Government.

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