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Tuesday, 9 August 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I suppose that salt is used as: extensively on farms for stock as for any other purpose, and therefore the primary producer is interested in this item.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The salt to which the honorable senator refers is admitted free under the next item.

Senator GARDINER - Then in the item under consideration we are once more up against the objectionable system of ad valorem duties, which really means that the superior article has to pay the higher rate of duty. By an ad valorem duty we encourage the importation of the inferior and discourage the importation of the superior article.

Senator Keating - We encourage refining in Australia.

Senator GARDINER - The encouragement to refining must be enormous in this case. I suppose that the price of salt is about1d. per lb., and an ad valorem duty of 20 per cent. would represent about¼d. per lb. I do not see why we should enable manufacturers of salt to secure an extreme price for an article which every one must use.

Senator Vardon - They lost a lot of money last year.

Senator GARDINER - If they did, there was a lot of money left in the pockets of the people that would otherwise have gone to swell the revenue. There are many preparations almost wholly of salt used for horse licks and cow licks. The practice of using rocksalt has been practically given up, and people now use up-to-date preparations which are almost wholly of salt but contain some ingredients that make them desirable as licks for stock. We should not pretend to encourage the primary producer with one duty and discourage him with another. Some of the English preparations of salt are excellent, and if the Minister will assure me that lump salt used for licks, whether in patent preparations or otherwise, will be admitted free, I shall be satisfied.

Senator Russell - Yes, they will, under the next item.

Item agreed to.

Item 89 (Salt) and item 90 (Sausage casings) agreed to.

Item 91-

(a)   Seeds and nuts, for the manufacture of oils, oil cake and other by-products, as prescribed by departmental by-laws, British, free; intermediate, free; general, free.

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