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Friday, 29 July 1921

Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) . - There is no doubt that the sugar produced from cane grown in the northern parts of Australia is probably the best in the world, but the beet-sugar industry established in Victoria at considerable expense to the State Government has had a very rough spin, and is certainly one that ought to be fostered. Despite what some newspapers have said, we practically all stand for the production of Australian goods for consumption by Australian people, not only in regard to growing the raw product, but also in respect to turning it into the manufactured article. My attitude is that we should manufacture all the requirements of Australia by Australian labour for Australian people. I strongly support a duty which has been imposed for the purpose of fostering the beet-sugar industry in Australia.

Item agreed t~.

Item 31 (Golden syrup and sugar syrups,n.e.i.) agreed to.

Item 32-

Molasses, free.

SenatorPRATTEN (New South Wales) [11.12]. - Before we pass this item I would like to know whether any. molasses are imported?

Senator Russell - We imported £19,000 worth of molasses from Fiji last year.

SenatorPRATTEN.- The fact that we are importing molasses while, as I am informed, molasses are going to waste in Queensland, owing to the expense of getting it to the markets where it could be used, raises a doubt as to whether we should agree to this item; but probably Senator Crawford could give the Committee some information on the point.

SenatorCRAWFORD (Queensland) [11.13]. - For a number of years it has been the practice of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company to import considerable quantities of molasses from Fiji - the cash value of this molasses may not actually be great, but the quantity is considerable - and use them in their New South Wales distillery for the manufacture of methylated and other spirits. During the war a great many of our establishments were assisted to keep going by reason of the fact that the Bundaberg distillery and the Colonial Sugar Refining Company's distillery, at Sydney, were producing various forms of commercial spirits. However, I doubt whether the imposition of a duty would tend to the utilization of the molasses, which, unfortunately, are at present going to waste in Queensland because of the very low price at which the products derived from it have to be sold in Australia in competition with imports. Of course, the position was somewhat different during the war, and still is, but I can assure senators that the question of applying the whole of the molasses output of the Queensland mills to some use is not escaping the attention of those engaged in the sugar industry. While the imposition of a duty would not assist that industry at the present time it would probably have the effect of increasing the price of methylated spirit and the spirits used for chemical preparations.

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