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Wednesday, 24 September 1941

Senator KEANE (Victoria) .- The Opposition supports this bill believing that it is to be some implementation of the policy adopted by the Labour party during the very short period when, it had an opportunity to establish and to foster Australian industries. I agree that the establishment of an insulated cable and wire manufacturing industry iu Australia is a substantial contribution to the industries of this country. I am glad that the Government has provided in the bill that the bounty is to be reviewed before the date of its expiry on the 30th June, 1942. I say that because the two organizations which arc to share in it, the Olympic Tyre and Rubber Company Limited and the new company, Cable Makers (Australia) Proprietary Limited, are organizations with considerable financial stability, and it is possible that, before the expiry date, they may be firmly established and may not require assistance. The Opposition is pleased to note that a provision has been inserted in the bill to protect the wages and conditions of those engaged in the industry. The importance of this new industry can be gauged from the estimate of the Minister (Senator Leckie) that, within a short time, it will be producing material valued at £1,500,000 per annum. I am glad to note that provision has been made in the bill that no bounty is to be paid' in respect of defence requirements, that the period during which the bounty is to be paid is limited to two years and that bounty will not be paid to such an. amount as may cause the net profit derived by a manufacturer to exceed 8 per cent, of the capital used in the manufacture of bountiable cable and wire. The decision to grant a bounty to this industry was based on a recommendation of the Tariff Board, after that body had fully investigated the matter. With the exception of rubber, which is imported from British Malaya, most of the materials to be used in this new industry will he manufactured or obtained in Australia. It is gratifying to learn that the industry will provide employment for between 800 and 1,000 persons in New South Wales and Victoria. That, at least, is some compensation to the people of those unfortunate States who have continually been helping to foster industries in the less prosperous States of Australia. This bill has been already dealt with expeditiously by the House of Representatives and I trust that it will be passed through this chamber with equal expedition. Imitation i.- the sincerest, form of flattery, and I congratulate the Government upon the introduction of the bill because, at long last, in connexion with this industry, it has adopted the policy of the party which I represent.

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