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Friday, 29 July 1921

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . - The value of the importations of raw coffee in the last seven years have been:-1913, £97,756; 1914-15, £78,755; 1915-16, £84,348; 1916-17, £96,846; 1917- 18, £67,304; 1918-19, £95,380. No increases in respect of this item are proposed, the Inter-State Commission having reported -

The present duties (i.e. 1908-11 Tariff) are sufficient for this industry, which is capable of considerable development, and its failure is not due to the Tariff, hut to the avoidable causes to which attention has been invited. The onlyefficient means of promoting coffee cultivation in Australia is, in the opinion of the Commission, ' by setting apart large areas in suitable localities and concentrating the industry so that growers may obtain the substantial benefits of co-operation. . . . It is considered that the bounty of1d. per lb., which expired on 30th June last (1915), should be renewed.

In the 1902 Tariff the duty, on coffee, raw and kiln dried, was 3d. per lb., and on roasted or prepared coffee 5d. per lb. In the 1908 Tariff the rates were 3d. and 6d. respectively; the latter rates are continued in the present schedule. The 1907 Bounties Act provided for a bounty of 1d. per lb. on coffee grown in Australia by white labour, and bounties were paid as follow:- 1909-10, £117; 1910-11, £112; 1911-12, £68; 1912-13, £125; 1913-14, £73; 1914-15, £71; 1915-16, £3. The period of the bounties expired on the 30th June, 1915. The position of the coffeegrowing industry in Australia is set out in the following extract from the Commonwealth Year-Book, 1918: -

Queensland is the only State of the Commonwealth in which coffee-growing has been at all extensively tried, and here the result has, up to the present time, been far from satisfactory. The total area devoted to this crop reached its highest point in the season of 1901- 2, when an area of 547 acres was recorded. The area then continued to decline to 1907-8, when it was as low as 256 acres. In subsequent seasons the area fluctuated somewhat, but on the whole there was a downward tendency, and in 1917-18 only 51 acres were recorded, with a yield of 16,242 lbs.

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