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Thursday, 24 September 1936

Senator COLLINGS asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -

1.   Has the Minister seen the report in the Sydney Daily Telegraph, of 1 9th September, 1036, to the effect that the Federal Government, in calling tenders recently for the supply of 1.000 casks of cement for New Guinea, stipulated two Japanese brands - Onoda and Icebear - thus depriving Australian firms of the right to tender, that foreign ships were given freedom in theinter-island trade, and that Japanese goods and Argentine meat were imported, to the detriment of Australian trade?

2.   Are these statements true?

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.The answers to the honorable senators questions are as follows: -

1.   Yes. 2. (a) Nothing is known in the department of any tenders having been called for the supply of 1.000 casks of cement for New Guinea, but inquiries have been made of the Administrator, Rabaul, and a reply is expected shortly.

(b)   In respect to the inter-island shipping trade of New Guinea the shipping ordinances that have been passed, and will come into operation from the 1st January, 1937, will place certain restrictions upon overseas vessels visiting New Guinea, and will require vessels engaging in the inter-island shipping trade to be licensed.

(c)   The latest statistics regarding the trade of New Guinea that are available are in respect of the year ended the 30th June, 1935. These statistics show -

(i)   The total value of imports into the territory was £948,404, and that goods imported from Australia were valued at £428.720 and from Japan at £42,757;

(ii)   the total value of meats (fresh and preserved) was £54,361, and of that amount the imports front Australia were valued at £47,495.

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