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Thursday, 30 April 1931

Senator BARNES - On the 26th March Senator Sir Hal Colebatch asked the following questions, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that, on the occasion of a deputation to the Minister for Trade and Customs on 2nd July, 1930, asking for an increase in the customs duty on Oregon timber, assurances were given that, if the request were complied with, it would result in an immediate increase in employment in the timber industry even up to 3,000 men?

2.   Was the request complied with ?

3.   Has the increased employment in the industry resulted?

4.   If so, where, and to what extent? .

5.   Is it a fact that the increase in the duties caused increased unemployment in Adelaide, and/or other centres of the timbermilling industry?

I am now able to furnish the honorable senator with the following information: -

1.   Yes.

2.   Yes.

3.   Not up to the present. The timber industry, like many other industries, is unable to expand and create further employment while the prevailing financial stringency continues. The building trade has been particularly severely affected by these conditions.

4.   See answer to 3.

5.   No. The available evidence shows that the increased duties have been instrumental in keeping at least 9,000 men employed in producing Australian timber, according to figures furnished by the Hardwood Millers Association of Victoria. The majority of these men would be now unemployed if the lower duties had been allowed to remain in the tariff.

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