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Wednesday, 29 August 1906

Sir JOHN QUICK (Bendigo) .- I should like some definite information regarding the intended destination of the bounty upon olive oil. I hope that it is not intended that it shall pass into the pockets of the rich growers and manufacturers who are already established and in the enjoyment of the proceeds of a lucrative industry. I have no objection to urge against the payment of the bounty, so long as it is limited to the production of new olive trees. But it is distinctly objectionable to put a bonus into the pockets of persons who have never asked for it, and who do not want it. When the Tariff Commission was sitting in South Australia we obtained some evidence respecting the olive oil industry in that State. We found that it was well established, and that it produced a splendid article. The only objection which the growers had to raise was against the proposed reduction of the duty upon cotton-seed oil. Under the existing Tariff there is a dutv of is. 4d. per gallon upon olive oil, and in reference to that matter I asked Mr. G. F. Cleland, who was a representative witness, the following questions : -

You contend that the abolition of the duty would lead to further importations of cotton seed, oil to compete with your olive oil? - Yes, and our olive oil would be adulterated with the cotton seed oil.

As to both items you wish the Tariff to remain as it is? - Yes.

Mr. Clelandspoke upon behalf of himself, Messrs. Thos. Hardy and Sons Ltd., the Waverley Vinegar Company, the Stoneyfell Olive Company Ltd., and Messrs. W. F. Auld and Sons. We were informed that the Stoney fell Company have 100 acres under olive cultivation, and that Sir Samuel Davenport had about fifty or sixty acres; also, that there were a great number of small gardens, of five or six acres. We were further told that the capital invested in the industry in South Australia was between £50,000 and £60,000, and that the total output of olive oil from the existing plantations was from 20,000 to 25,000 gallons per annum. The wholesale price realized for that product is from 8s. 6d. to 9s. 6d. per gallon, the imported article commanding only 6s. 6d. per gallon. According to the present output, therefore, I estimate the value pf the total production of olive oil in South Australia at about £10,000 annually. The gentlemen who are engaged in this industry, I think, would merely laugh up their sleeves if this bounty were forced upon them. Whilst strong arguments may be urged in favour of extending the industry and of encouraging the planting of fresh plantations, it is not necessary to offer a bonus to Sir Samuel Davenport and the other gentlemen who are engaged in this trade, who are well established, and who real Iv enjoy a monopoly of the olive oil production of the Commonwealth. I would seriously impress upon the Minister the need for considering the representations which I have .made, and I would urge that in the regulations which he frames he should limit the payment of the bounty to olive oil which is the product of new plantations.

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