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Wednesday, 2 June 1926

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) . - I suggest that the deferred duty on rennet should come into operation at an earlier date, and, if possible, immediately the Senate has agreed to the item. The State Abattoirs at Homebush are making large quantities of this rennet of very excellent quality. Their product is being used very largely in a great many of the chief cheesemaking factories of the Commonwealth, and is winning their increasing favour to such an extent that they are giving it their unqualified approval as a high-class product, which is meeting their requirements as fully as would any imported rennet. The following table showing the value of imports should be of interest to honorable senators: -


Denmark, which is the largest supplier of imported rennet, is of little value to Australia as a consumer of our products. I have with me a number of copies of certificates from State agricultural departments and of letters from satisfied consumers in New South Wales and, Victoria, bearing out my statement that the rennet produced at Homebush is not anly equal to imported rennet, but is, if anything, superior to it. The Under-Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Stock in Brisbane describes it as -

A high quality rennet above standard in activity and much better than claimed by the makers on the label.

The Senior Dairy Instructor of New South Wales says -

Australian standard rennet is being used in the manufacture of probably over 50 per cent. of the cheese of New South Wales at present, and I venture to say that sales will be materially increased as this article becomes better known, provided it maintains its present good qualities.

The Chief Veterinary Inspector of Victoria states that the Government cheese expert has carried out experiments at several factories, and has reported that the Homebush rennet is equal to the best on the market at the present time. Holdenson and Nielson Fresh Food Proprietary Limited, of Melbourne, say -

We do not wish to have to purchase imported rennet now that we have started to use your commodity in our factories.

Senator Andrew - What is the cost of it?

Senator DUNCAN - It is just about the same as the imported.

Senator Drake-Brockman - As a matter of fact, the local product is cheaper than the imported article.

Senator DUNCAN - I was just about to point out that at first it cost about the same as the imported rennet; but its price was afterwards reduced consider ably, and this had the effect of bringing down the price of imported rennet. The activity of the local article is higher than that of the imported, and as it is manufactured from calf veils, it is a valuable addition to our local industries that promises to be even more valuable in the future. The Tariff Board and the Government already see the necessity for protecting it against competition from low-wage countries overseas, where the cost of production is not as high as it is here; but why they should recommend that the duty should not be imposed until the 1st January, 1927, I cannot understand. I think the Minister might agree to make the duty operative at some earlier date.

Senator Crawford - If the honorable senator moves anamendment to make the date the 1st October, I will accept it.

Senator DUNCAN - Is that the earliest date the Minister can offer ?

Senator Crawford - Yes.

Senator DUNCAN - That would mean a fairly long time before any degree of security could be given the local producer.

Senator Crawford - The local producer cannot supply the whole of Australia's requirements at the present time.

Senator Andrew - The bulk of the cheese is made after October.

Senator DUNCAN - That is so. I do not wish to be unreasonable. I accept the Minister's suggestion in the hope that it will be acceptable to the producers of this rennet in the State I represent, and I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 84 by leaving out the words " January 1927 " and inserting in lieu thereof the words " October 1926 ".

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bequest agreed to.

Item agreed to, subject to a request.

Item 96-


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