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Friday, 19 February 1932

Mr GREGORY (Swan) .- I request the Prime Minister to forward by telegram to the State Premiers a synopsis of the Financial Agreement Enforcement Bill, so that the governments of the different States may have an opportunity of knowing what is proposed before the consideration of the measure is resumed by this House.

The tariff schedule of 1901 placed duties of 15 per cent, and 25 per cent. on sulphate of ammonia as a chemical. At that date it was not used to any extent as a fertilizer, but in recent years its manurial value has been appreciated, and it ~is now used extensively in rural industries throughout the Commonwealth. Parliament has provided that superphosphates if manufactured within the Empire shall be admitted duty free; a small duty is imposed on superphosphates imported from foreign countries. The schedule admits " manures, n.e.i. " duty free, but by some extraordinary reasoning the Trade and Customs Department decided some years ago that nitrates and other fertilizers might be used as substitutes for sulphate of ammonia, which they classified as a chemical subject to the 15 and 25 per cent, duties. That is ridiculous. I have repeatedly protested against this ruling, and I urge that while the schedule remains in its present form these fertilizers, including sulphate of ammonia, which are not imported for use as chemicals, shall be admitted duty free. It should be unnecessary to remind the House of the wonderful results that have followed the extensive use of artificial manures. Any honorable member who appreciates the need for the extension of land settlement and the increase in rural employment will admit that fertilizers imported from abroad should not be subject to duty. I hope that early action will be taken to give effect to what was undoubtedly the intention of Parliament.

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