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Tuesday, 21 March 1961

Mr McEWEN - Representatives of the Australian timber industry had extensive discussions last week with officers of the Department of Trade. This was in pursuance of a course that has now been established whereby an Australian industry, believing itself to be in trouble, composes a panel of its representatives to have discussions, in the first place, with the specialist officers of the Department of Trade, if it is felt that imports or the rate of protection is at issue. Following those discussions, in due course a full report is made to the Minister concerned - in this case myself. In this instance, because 'the matter is urgent, a report will be made at an early date. 1 have had some preliminary discussions with the officers who engaged in those deliberations last week, but I am not yet in possession of their full report. No doubt that report will come to hand in the next day or two.

The honorable member for McMillan, and other honorable members on both sides of the House who are concerned with the wellbeing of the Australian timber and sawmilling industries, can be assured that in accordance with the Government's policies, which have been announced and which are designed overall to ensure stability in the Australian economy, the proper courses will be followed.

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