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Thursday, 12 June 1902

Mr WATSON (Bland) - The Minister has hardly met the point. The right honorable gentleman professes sympathy with States who desire to enter upon this industry, but he suggests that the time at which the measure shall commence to operate shall be extended only to 30th September.

Mr Kingston - No; I propose that as regards the general provisions of the Bill the date shall be the 30th September, but that there shall be a special column in the schedule showing when the bonus commences in each industry.

Mr WATSON - A few weeks ago, when we were discussing the Tariff, the Minister for Trade and Customs and the Treasurer made most pathetic appeals on behalf of the smaller States. The Minister told us then that every effort must be made to help South Australia by imposing a duty upon tea, and by increasing the taxation in other ways. Now, however, he wants us to increase the expenditure of the States, and thus make it stillmore difficult for some of them to meet their engagements. If the amendment were adopted, it would be of advantage to the smaller States in postponing the time when they will be called upon to make this contribution. Furthermore, if the States are to undertake the enterprise, the matter must be considered, first by the various State Cabinets, and then by the States Parliaments, and if any of the States finally decide to undertake the work, still further time will be occupied in making preparations for the carrying on of the industry. Therefore, it is unlikely that any of the States Governments can enter upon this enterprise before 1904, and it is important that they should not in the meantime be forestalled by companies which have pre-empted two or three of the most likely lodes of iron ore within the Commonwealth. If the figures . given by the Minister in regard to the cost of producing iron are correct, it seems to me that those whom the Bill will most benefit will simply use it to obtain profits by floating a large company. In view of all these circumstances, I do not think the Bill should come into operation earlier than the date suggested by the honorable member for South Australia, Mr. Batchelor.

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