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Tuesday, 5 August 1930

Senator BARNES (Victoria) (Assistant Minister) . - It appears to me that those honorable senators who have voiced their opposition to the bill are not at all keen about giving a helping hand to any Australian industry. It has been estimated that if the 45,000 sewing machines which are sold in Australia every year were produced locally, the industry would give employment to about 1,000 men. The Government believes that the bounty system, together with reasonable protection, is the best method for the development of the industry. I have no fear whatever that, if the bill is passed, it will be possible to get together an organization for the manufacture of sewing machines in Australia on a thoroughly satisfactory basis, and that the competition thus engendered will have the effect of bringing down the price of imported machines. I am informed that the landed cost of the most expensive sewing machine sold in Australia is only about £8 10s., so the margin of profit is considerable.

I am advised further that the manufacturing unit to make possible massproduction methods is capable of manufacturing about 10,000 machines a year, and that if the output were increased to 100,000 -machines a year the cost per machine would not be less than with a mass-production unit of 10,000. The Bendigo company failed previously because it attempted to establish a foothold in the Australian market on a freetrade basis, and it was unable to withstand the opposition of overseas firms manufacturing on a mass-production basis. The new Bendigo company, I understand, proposes to raise a capital of £100,000, and already has £30,000 in hand. The Sydney company anticipates being in a position to manufacture 10,000 machines by the 30th June, 1931. if this bounty is granted. Itseems to me that there is ample warrant for the assistance which this Government proposes to give to the industry. I hope that the Senate will pass the bill.

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