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Tuesday, 8 November 1910

Senator READY (Tasmania) -34J- - 1 notice,, from the schedule to this Bill, that the bounty is to be given for the production of kerosene and refined paraffin wax. While 1 am in entire accord with the proposal as far as it goes, nevertheless, I cannot forget, being a representative of Tasmania, that for the first time we are able to have a very important industry established in that State. It appears to me that the presentation of the measure in this form shows that the Government were not fully alive to the necessity of promoting and encouraging a great Australian industry elsewhere than in New South Wales. I should have liked to see provision made for granting a bounty for the production of burning oils. I understand that it will not be possible to produce refined kerosene at the shale works in Tasmania. The cost of establishing refining works would run into a very large sum indeed. Consequently, this Bill - though I approve of its principle - will not help the industry in Tasmania very much. I should like to suggest to the Government that some small amount should be included for the byproducts of shale, in order to encourage those companies that cannot afford to produce refined products at present. This aspect of the matter has been overlooked by the Government, and by those honorable senators who have preceded me in the debate.

I am not in accord with Senator Stewart in taking a rather gloomy view of the situation; because if, after this Bill has been in operation for about twelve months, it be found that the amount is not sufficient, there will be nothing to prevent Parliament from increasing it. Senator Stewart will agree that it is possible for us to encourage the industry to a far greater degree than is at present proposed.

I may point out that the north-west coast of Tasmania is at present one of the most flourishing parts of that State; and, as

I happen to have been bom at Latrobe, where the shale works are situated, I naturally take more than an ordinary amount of interest in the matter. The shale industry has been taken up there with great enthusiasm, and the capital has been subscribed largely by people resident in Tasmania, who believe that the works will become very important and flourishing. I feel, therefore, that there will be a certain measure of disappointment at the fact that the industry as conducted in Tasmania would receive very little encouragement from this Bill. Even now, I trust that the Government will consent to an alteration so that the Tasmanian company may receive some benefit, and in order that inducement may be offered for the formation of other companies for the purpose of producing oils and by-products from shale.

I trust that the Government will continue to keep in mind the desirableness of encouraging all our native industries. Where the policy of Protection is not sufficient to afford the necessary measure pf assistance I hope that bounties will be voted. Although we have not had any great success with bounties in the past, notwithstanding that a considerable sum of money has been appropriated for the purpose, I think that the tendency in future will be for increasing amounts to be claimed by producers. The consequences will be, of course, that the people of Australia will receive larger benefits, and that we shall have important industries rapidly growing up in our midst.

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