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Thursday, 7 August 1902

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The drying and concentration of vegetables is an industry which requires as little capital, and as few appliances, as almost any industry in the Commonwealth. Vegetables are grown in every State, and are being exported by- at least half the States, and it seems to me, therefore, tha,t the industry requires no protection. It might be desirable to obtain some amount of revenue from -these articles, however, and therefore I should be willing to vote for the reduction of the duty to 10 per cent, as a compromise. No doubt the use of dried and concentrated vegetables in outlying parts of Australia will increase as time goes on, because of the impossibility of getting fresh vegetables there, and the ease >and cheapness of the carriage of concentrated vegetables. They are very cheap and common necessaries of life, and if we are to raise revenue by -placing a duty upon them, we Ought to make the tax as .light as possible, in the interests of those who are pioneering on the outskirts of the habitable parts of the continent. Although I am not personally interested in the industry, I have seen something of it, and I know it is one which requires very little capital. Any one possessing a few hundred pounds, and facilities for growing vegetables, can enter upon it. It requires only the use of small ovens, drying rooms, and a shed for cutting up and packing. It is the simplest of all industries, and does not demand, even from the protectionist point of view, the excessive protection proposed by the Government. A duty of 10 per cent, would be ample, and might possibly return a little more revenue than would ever be obtained from so high a rate as 15 per cent. The Treasurer has contended that a duty of 15 per cent, is a low one, but in the interests of those who reside in the outlying parts of the continent - in Western Australia, Queensland, the extreme west of New South Wales, and even some parts of Victoria - to whom these vegetables must be for many years to come an absolute necessity, we might very well extend the hand of compromise to the Senate and agree to a duty of 10 per cent. I move- -

That the motion be amended hy adding the words " but that the duty be fixed at 10 per cent, aci valorem."

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