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Friday, 4 October 1918
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Mr TUDOR (Yarra) .- Schedule VIII. sets forth the scale of fees for licences to manufacture tobacco, and I am not averse to the increases there shown. This clause affects principally the big factories, for I think it is common knowledge that the manufacture of tobacco is gradually getting into fewer and fewer hands.

Mr Riley - It is a monopoly.

Mr TUDOR - It is practically. I think I am safe in saying that one firm does at least 80 per cent, of the tobacco trade of Australia, though the manufacture of cigars and cigarettes is more widely distributed. Formerly, if a firm manufactured 350,000 lbs. weight in one year, a licence-fee of £250 had to be paid, instead of, as proposed in the Bill, £350. I am in favour of that increase, but I should like the Minister to say definitely whether he considers that the licence fees to be imposed are adequate, or whether they should not be higher than is proposed. One firm probably manufactures from 10,000,000 to 12,000,000 lbs. of tobacco every year, and has had a great advantage in the past.

Mr Riley - The licence fees will be passed on.

Mr TUDOR - Qf course. To-day prices of many commodities are .fixed, but I suppose every honorable member has .received letters reporting how the Tariff increases have resulted in the prices being raised to an extent .greater ' than the increase of duty or Excise. Will the Minister inform the Committee whether the proposed licence fees will be adequate, and' also whether any means can be adopted to prevent the passing on of increases'?

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