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Tuesday, 19 December 1911

Senator McDOUGALL (New South Wales) . - This item proposes to make New Zealand white pine dutiable at 6d. per 100 super, feet. The pine which is most largely used for the construction of workmen's cottages is rimu. Under the present proposal that will be subjected to a higher duty of 2s. 6d. In one timber yard in Sydney to-day there are 4,000,000 feet of that timber being seasoned. Over 2,000 men are employed in seasoning, dressing, and preparing it. The timber is intended to be used for building purposes, especially for linings and floorings. I do not think that the intention of the Government was to penalize the industry. The owner of the yard to which I refer will make a profit of . £5,000onthe timber he has in stock if this duty be imposed. I have here a photograph of one stack of timber 60 feet high, and there are other similar stacks in the same yard. I should like the duty on dressed timber, which it is proposed to make 3s. 6d., brought down to the level of the old Tariff. I hope that, in justice to this great industry and to workmen who are trying to build homes for themselves, we shall not do anything to increase the cost of their timber. I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by inserting after the word " Pine " in sub-item (B) the words "and Rimu."

Senator RAE(New South Wales [12.3]. - I know something about the timber business, and have some experience of rimu. I know it as it grows in New Zealand, and also from having used it in New South Wales. Rimu is a variety of pine, but it is much more durable than white pine. It is not so suitable for making butter-boxes, because it has colour and odour, which white pine has not. It is very much morecommon than kauri, and grows over larger areas. Kauri forests are confined to a limited area in the extreme north of New Zealand, whereas rimu grows in a variety of climates and soils. It is a very much cheaper timber, and is especially suitable for studding and for anything that is not required to stand a heavy strain. There is no Australian timber like it which cant be obtained at a reasonable price. There is a great demand in this country for soft woods, and considerable hardship will be inflicted on many industries if this wood isnot able to be obtained at reasonable rates. One Protectionist argument for imposing, duties is to insure that work shall be carried on under Australian conditions or their equivalent. But that does not apply in regard to New Zealand timbers. No one can dispute the fact that the conditions of labour in New Zealand are equal to those in Australia.

Senator de Largie - I question that.

Senator Barker - The labour conditionsare better there.

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