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Thursday, 4 August 1921

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . - I explained to-day that investigations have shown that on account of the high price of sugar in Australia as compared with the price in China, the manufacturers of preserved ginger in this country are likely, to discontinue operations. We approached the Sugar Board, with a request that sugar required for this industry should be made available at a lower price, but they declined, and I think rightly, to make a special concession for one industry. The alternatives before us were to allow the industry to go out of existence or to increase the duty by Id. We granted that increase to-day after due deliberation. The Committee is now asked to undo its previous Act. Are we to stultify ourselves by negativing in the evening what we did in the afternoon? The recipe for the brine in which ginger is imported is unknown to any manufacturer in Australia, and for that reason ginger in brine has to be imported. I believe that ginger can be grown in Australia, but we have yet to start its cultivation.

Senator Crawford - How can an industry be started without protection?

Senator RUSSELL - It is inevitable that the price of sugar shall return to normal unless it is kept at its present level by high Protection. Certain people have established an industry for the manufacture of preserved ginger, but the rise in the price of sugar has made its continuance impossible unless further protection is given to it.

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