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Wednesday, 30 May 1973
Page: 2859

Mr KELLY (Wakefield) - The Opposition, of course, supports this Bill. It would be quite a wrong decision to impose a tariff on agricultural tractors, which are obviously tools of trade for the agricultural industry. As we have to compete in export markets against world competition it would be quite a serious blow if we had to protect the industry by tariffs rather than bounty. Indeed, I hope that there will be more of this kind of thinking. I can think of many other tools of trade which the farmer uses which are protected by tariffs. I am glad to see that the honourable member for Moore (Mr Maisey) is enthusiastically supporting me. He and I for many years have fought lonely battles in this place trying to get more realistic realisation of how heavily the tariff burden bears on those of us in the farming industry in particular, and in the export industry in general. So, 1 can assure the Minister for Overseas Trade and Secondary Industry (Dr J. F. Cairns) that we gladly support this method of protecting the industry. We have to realise that this industry is pretty heavily protected. If no dumping duties are imposed the Tariff Board assesses the rate of effective protection at 50 per cent. If the dumping component is taken away, the protection is still 30 per cent. If this protection had been in the form of a tariff which would increase our costs, I can imagine how angry the honourable member for Moore would have been, and indeed rightly so.

Mr King - He would not be alone.

Mr KELLY - No. I am glad to hear the awakened interest of the honourable member for Wimmera (Mr King) in this matter. For many years we have been waiting for the Country Party to show the kind of concern that I was always hoping it would show. I hope that in the future I will get the active support of honourable members of the Country Party, as I have always been able to rely on the support of the honourable member for Moore, who has been courageous and capable in this lonely battle.

The other thing that should be remembered is that this legislation follows a Tariff Board report, which, although the Minister does not speak of it, recommended a duty of 30 per cent on tractors with a power rated at less than 20 horsepower. They are not tractors that would be used generally in broad acre farming, but they are used in other aspects of horticulture - chiefly in limited fields of agriculture. I am sorry to see that the Tariff Board has recommended this, but I understand from reading the report that this will be a temporary arrangement while the Tariff Board presents its report on a number of farmers' requirements of other kinds. Generally speaking, on behalf of the Opposition I am glad to support the Bill. I only wish that this type of protection were practised more generally and not confined to this narrow field of tractors. 1 would be glad, Mr Deputy Speaker, if you would like me to continue, to give an example of how the tariff burden is spread.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Luchetti)Thehonourable member should confine his remarks to the Bill.

Mr KELLY - In that case, I hope that the honourable member for Moore will now take up where I have let off. The Opposition will support the Bill.

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