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Wednesday, 9 June 1926

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) . - Senator Ogden is entirely mistaken in his reference to the supply of static transformers by Australian manufacturers. I have before me four sets of actual quotations for Australian and imported transformers. One set of quotations is for transformers required by the Sydney City Council, and the other for the New South Wales Railway Department, which are not small undertakings. In the first instance, one Australian tender was received, and twelve were received from foreign firms.

Senator Ogden - There was only one local tender.

Senator DUNCAN - Yes, but the quotations to which I have referred were for big work. The Australian tender was £12,855, which was the lowest tender by over £1,000; and the tenders from foreign manufacturers ranged up to over £25,000. Those offers were submitted in May, 1926. The second instance was m connexion with tenders which closed in December, 1925, for transformers required by the New South Wales railways. The Australian tender was £13,027, again the lowest, or £2,500 lower than the next lowest tender, which was from a foreign manufacturer.

Senator H Hays - How many transformers were required ?

Senator DUNCAN - Not many, but they were very large. The Sydney City Council has several large transformers, larger perhaps than those in any part of Australia, with the exception, perhaps, of the transformers used by the hydroelectric works in Tasmania. In the next instance, tenders were called in January, 1926, when eight offers were received. The lowest tender submitted was £1,043, again by an Australian firm; whereas the highest, which was from a foreign manufacturer, amounted to £1,535. The fourth case I wish to quote is one in which tenders were called in September, 1925, when the lowest tender, of £440, was submitted by an Australian firm, and the highest, £771, by a foreign competitor. From these figures, it will be seen that the arguments put forward by Senator Ogden cannot be substantiated. In 1920, when a large Australian customer invited prices for a certain size of electrical transformers, the lowest overseas price was over £1,000; but an Australian manufacturer, tendering for the first time, secured the order at £949. The overseas manufacturers kept on cutting their prices until the same customer was quoted £300 for the same transformer under 'the same conditions. In other words, foreign prices fell by 70 per cent, when the Australian manufacturer came into the market. It is good business from Australia's view-point, to impose these duties, and the Government is doing the right, thing in adequately protecting Australian industries so that they may successfully compete against foreign manufacturers.

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