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Wednesday, 24 August 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) . - The sub-item refers to no machinery required in connexion with the mining industry. Sub-item a deals with earth and rock cutting, dredging and excavation machinery, much of which is essential for developmental work in Australia. Rock -cutting machinery and drills are required in railway construction and dredging machines for the improvement of our ports and harbors, consequently a heavy impost must necessarily increase the cost of such works.

Senator Earle - Not necessarily, if we can manufacture them here.

Senator PAYNE - I am coming to that point. We have to take into consideration the probable effect of reasonable protection on local industries, and 40 per cent, on the general Tariff means that at the lowest estimate the effective protection, if this sub-item be agreed to, will be about 75 per cent.,* as the parts would be contained in small compass.

Senator Pearce - The parts would not come under this sub-item. They would be imported in sections and could be carried as ballast.

Senator PAYNE - The question to be considered is whether we are likely, by the imposition of this heavy tax, to hold up the progress of important developmental works. I want to see the local manufacturing industry thoroughly established, but I am quite satisfied that the needs of the Commonwealth are not yet being met by local industry in this direction. Therefore, unless public works are to be delayed we shall have to depend upon imported machinery for the carrying out of many such works. The proposed reduction of 40 to 35 per cent, is not a drastic one, and the local industry will still have an effective protection of '65 per cent., which is ample.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Especially against American manufacturers.

Senator PAYNE - We have imported much of this machinery in the past from America. I have no desire to see American manufacturers get any advantage in this Tariff, but the retention of heavy duties on such items as this will simply mean an addition to the capital cost of works so necessary for the development of Australia, without in any way benefiting local manufacturers. For this reason I support the request.

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