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Tuesday, 30 August 1921

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) . - If I thought for a moment that there was any possibility of this industry becoming large enough to supply the whole of the needs of Australia, I might be prepared to vote for the duty proposed by the Government, but I have in my hand an interesting booklet concerning the position of the industry in South Australia. It was issued by the Department of Chemistry in South Australia, of which Mr. W. A. Hargreaves is director. This booklet states -

As will be seen from the foregoing, the total possible production of cream of tartar from wine is not very large, and it is small in proportion to the quantity imported into Australia. It is not sufficient to supply the needs of South Australia. It is not, therefore, a promising field for a large industry; but, nevertheless, the tartar that is available should not be allowed to go to waste. If the winemakers will undertake their part of the work, there will be no difficulty in finding manufacturers able and willing to install the outfit necessary for the refining of the tartar and the production of the best quality cream of tartar. It may be stated that one manufacturer in this State is already making cream of tartar, and another is prepared to establish a plant for the extraction of cream of tartar from lees, provided he is assured of a constant supply of lees from the wine-makers.

Here is evidence from the South Australian Government experts that the total amount of the wine lees from the grape crop will not be sufficient to meet the needs of South Australia alone.

Senator Earle - What is the date of that publication ?

Senator DUNCAN - It is Bulletin No. 3 issued in 1916.

Senator Earle - But there has been a considerable increase in acreage under vines since then.

Senator Wilson - The crop in South Australia has been doubled.

Senator DUNCAN - My information is that the vignerons of South Australia are not prepared to supply the lees and stone in any very great quantity for the manufacture of tartaric acid. I have also correspondence from Messrs. Abel and

Lemon, a well-known firm of Sydney merchants, in which it is stated -

The experience my firm had was that in prewar days we were unable to obtain any quantity of the wine lees and wine stone from the wine-growers to make it worth while our proceeding with the matter. The method employed in France and in other wine-producing countries of saving all the lees and all the stone has never appealed to thepeople of Australia, and evidently never will.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It all depends on what they get for the waste products.

Senator DUNCAN - At all events, these are the facts. This Sydney firm were prepared to manufacture this commodity if they could be assured of a sufficient supply of the raw material, and the South Australian Government expert has shown that there is not sufficient available there to manufacture on a scale to meet South Australian requirements, let alone the needs of the whole of Australia.

Senator Lynch - And South Australia is the leading wine-growing State.

Senator DUNCAN - Even if the acreage under vines in South Australia has been doubled, the State might expect to supply the whole of its own requirements, but it will certainly not be in a position to supply those of the other States. The principal of the firm which I have just mentioned, who has only recently returned from Great Britain, assures me that the British manufacturers are exporting almost the whole of their output of tartaric acid to Australia. The operation of our preferential Tariff in this regard is that Great Britain finds it better to export almost the whole of her manufactures to this country, and import her own requirements from France. The total importations of cream of tartar for the year ending the 30th June last were: - United Kingdom, 115 tons, covering nearly the whole of the production of that country; the continent of Europe, 628 tons; and the United States of America, 319 tons. The annual consumption of Australia is about 1,000 tons. Every time a housewife makes a batch of scones she will be called upon to pay a tax to the Commonwealth Government, not for the purpose of building up a big local industry - the facts I have given show that it is impossible to do so - but merely in order to permit a small quantity of cream of tartar to be retailed at a higher price. The latest quotation, c.i.f. Sydney, is 1s. 2d. per lb. Before the war the price was 10d. per lb. Is it wise for us to ask the housewives to continue paying this high price in order that a small industry may be partially established to partially meet the needs of the whole of Australia? I think not.

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