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Thursday, 1 September 1960

Mr Bryant (WILLS, VICTORIA) t asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -

1.   What is the current price of Austalian steel sold (a) in Australia, and (b) overseas?

2.   What have been the (a) quantities, (b) values and (c) countries of destination of Australian steel exports during each of the last three years?

3.   What have been (a) quantities, (b) values and (c) countries of origin of Australian imports of steel in each of those years?

4.   Does the export of Australian steel deprive the Australian market of steel which has to be replaced by a more expensive imported product?

5.   Does this increase the price of steel to the Australian consumer; if so, in what way does this export arrangement have advantage to the Australian economy?

Mr McEwen - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   There are several hundred different types and qualities of steel mill items produced by the Australian steel industry, and although there is a basic price which includes freight, extra charges may be added for such matters as varying specifications, testing, cutting to size, inspecting, &c. The values of exports as published by the Commonwealth Statistician, are on an f.o.b. basis. For these reasons it is not practicable to make accurate comparisons between local and overseas prices. 2 and 3. I am sure the honorable member would not want me to supply all the details of quantities, values and countries of destination of the various steelmill products either exported from Australia or imported into the country; such details would cover possibly some 50 pages. The information asked for is listed in the annual " Overseas Trade " bulletins, issued by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics. Copies of these bulletins are available at the Parliamentary Library. The aggregate figures for each of the three years in question, however, are as follows: -


4.   No. The only exports have been in items where there is production surplus to local requirements, and some quantities to the traditional New Zealand market.

5.   No. Imports are confined to qualities and types not economic to make locally on account of the limited domestic demand, and to categories where production is insufficient to meet demands.

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