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Tuesday, 30 August 1921

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) . - I wish to submit a request for an increase in the duty on sub-item m. I am in receipt of representations from the Ply-wood Manufacturing Company of Sydney. I understand that ply-wood manufacturing companies are operating also in Brisbane and Melbourne. This promises to bc a very important industry, but it is claimed that the degree of protection given in the schedule is somewhat insufficient. The company to which I have referred has written a letter to the Minister for Trade and Customs on the subject of the duty on ply-wood. In that letter the request is made that the duty on foreign-made plywood should be increased to l'Os. per 100 square feet.

Senator Pearce - The duty in the schedule is equivalent to 35s. per 100 super, feet.

Senator DUNCAN - We cannot reckon this on the same basis as ordinary timber. However, 1 shall quote the letter sent to the Minister for Trade and Customs by the company and will leave the matter at that. It reads -

By instructions of my hoard of directors a telegram was addressed to you yesterday, of which a copy is attached hereto: - "In view of the concern of the Tariff coming before Parliament at an early date the directors of this company discussed yesterday the matter of taking steps to protect the industry from unfair foreign competition, and I am instructed to lay before you the situation as it exists. This company is Australian-owned, with a factory at Leichhardt, Sydney. Approximately £25,000 has been expended in acquiring site, in building factory, and in equipping the same with the most up-to-date plant for the manufacture of first-grade plywood. Employment will be given to about fifty men in the works, and our pay-roll will be from £15,000 to £20,000 per annum. A very considerable in: direct employment is afforded by this industry in the direction of procuring raw material, felling of logs, haulage, shipment, and cartage from point of ship's discharge.'' Incidentally it may be noted that revenue is due to the Crown for timber secured from Government areas. The industry is an established one, and factories are operating in Brisbane and Melbourne. This company will commence the manufacture of plywood next week and strive to place on the market a product of the finest possible quality. The present duty on the commodity of 7s. per 100 square feet is insufficient to constitute adequate protection. This is proved by the fact that very large quantities of American and Scandinavian plywood are being now dumped on to the Australian market, and we are informed it is being sold at prices below those charged in the countries of origin. At the same time it is clear that a heavy demand exists for 'the article, and this company has made allowance for a duplication of plant if it is found that conditions warrant such expansion.5'

I shall leave the case there, and I now move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty, sub-item (m), per 100 square feet, general, 10s.

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