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Thursday, 13 April 1961

Mr McEWEN (MURRAY, VICTORIA) (Minister for Trade) - Officials of the Department of Trade have had a whole series of panel meetings with representatives of various branches of the textile industry, including representatives of those companies which are engaged in the manufacture and processing of man-made fibre piece-goods. I am aware of the report to which the honorable member refers. It has been published in respect of a limited area of the industry, 1 believe. That report does not set out the position accurately. It is true that some manufacturers in the textile industry have experienced quite drastic reductions in sales, and as a result have had to reduce their production to a serious degree. It appears that some persons have drawn from this fact the inference that some manufacturers have carried the whole burden of the reduction in demand, while others have been unaffected. That is not correct. It is quite clear to the Department of Trade that in the textile industry there are few, if any, who have been unaffected by the reduction in demand experienced quite recently.

As to my own interest in this matter, I assure the honorable member that for a month or so recently I have had daily consultations on it with officers of the Department of Trade, who are themselves in almost constant consultation, through the panel system, with all sections of the textile industry. As I said in answer to a question yesterday, from time to time, as a result of representations made, references have been made to the Tariff Board for temporary protection, and when the Tariff Board recommends such protection, arrangements of a protective nature, such as I mentioned yesterday, are made.

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