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Friday, 23 September 1949

Mr CHIFLEY - The matter mentioned by the honorable member in his question has given the Government considerable concern. I have discussed with the representatives of some very large companies which are now able tobuy the necessary equipment the possibility of increasing the production of sulphur in Australia. I think I am at liberty to say that from the works operated by one company, 70,000 tons of sulphur are lost infumes each year. We are now pushing on with plans to recover the sulphur. A special officer of the Department of Trade and Customs, Mr. Clark, is now in London examining the possibilities of obtaining sulphur from the United Kingdom and other soft currency countries. We are already obtaining some sulphur from those areas, and the situation is improving. The Government considers that it is absolutely essential that Australia should have all the sulphur that is needed for the production of superphosphate,which is vital to our primary industries. I am sure that all honorable members will agree with the Government on that issue. Various suggestions have been made concerning the importation of brimstone. I assure the honorable member that the Government is anxious to obtain the maximum quantities of sulphur possible from easy currency areas and is also exploring the possibilities of enabling Australian companies to increase their production of sulphur as quickly as possible.

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