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Thursday, 14 May 1936

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) . - I can immediately put the honorable senator at his ease. The total importations of goloshes, rubber sand boots and shoes and plimsolls over the last few years have been as follows: - 1930-31, £2,018; 1931-32, £258; 1932-33, £313; 1933-34, £287; 1934-35, £867. The bulk of the importations in the last year mentioned came from Canada and Japan. For the first six months of the current year the importations were valued at £897. The proposed rates of duty compared with those operating in the 1933 tariff represent under the British preferential tariff, after allowing for the exchange adjustment, a reduction by approximately onethird of a penny a pair of the fixed rate of duty, and an increase of 1£ per cent, in respect of the alternative ad valorem rate of duty. Under the general tariff, the reductions are 2d. a pair, and 2$ per cent, respectively. Action now being taken is consequent upon the receipt of the Tariff Board's report of the 30th September, 1935. The British rates of duty are in accordance with the board's recommendation; the intermediate rates express the level of duties recommended by the board for the general tariff, and, in accordance with the policy of providing a margin for trade treaty negotiation with overseas countries, the general rates have been increased above the level recommended by the board. The manufacture in Australia of sand shoes, sand boots and goloshes represents a capital investment of approximately £1,393,000. The industry is an extensive employer of labour, and in the last trading year produced over 4,000,000 pairs of articles with a factory-selling price of more than £675,000. On the average over 1,700 persons - 700 males and 1,000 females - are employed in this industry, and the weekly wages paid approximate £5,300. Competition in the industry is keen, the quality of manufactured products is good, and the range is adequate; importations are negligible. Selling prices are reasonable and compare favorably with the prices of like footwear in the United Kingdom. The local manufacturers are not taking full advantage of the protection afforded by the tariff. Total importations in 1934-35 consisted of 7,319 pairs valued at £S67 ; whereas in 192S-29 they were 178,243 pairs valued at £33,S12. No representations were made at the board's inquiry by British interests in accordance with the provisions of the Ottawa agreement, to establish the necessity for a reduction of the British rates of duty, nor were any requests made from any other source for a lowering of the rate. The incidence of exchange affords additional protection to the Australian industry, and was estimated by the board to be equivalent to 4d. a pair under the specific rate of duty and 5 per cent, under the alternative ad valorem rate of duty. Under par exchange conditions the proposed rates of duty will not be lower than those provided for in the 1933 tariff.

Item agreed to

Item 329-

By omitting the whole item and inserting in its stead the following item:- -

And on and after 2nd April, 1980 - 329. Boots, shoes, slippers, clogs, patterns, and other footwear (of any material), n.e.i. ; boot and shoe uppers and tops (except of felt) ; cork, leather, or other socks or soles n.e.i. - ad val., British, 25 per cent.; intermediate, 45 per cent.; general, CO per cent.

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