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Wednesday, 2 October 1974
Page: 1579

Senator POYSER - My question is directed to the Minister for Customs and Excise. How many commodities are subject to shortfall by-laws, and why are they so subjected?

Senator MURPHY - Commodities are subject to shortfall by-law when there exists in Australia a shortage in the production of those commodities. The reference to by-law means that the commodities, being in short supply in this country, are admitted free of duty, whereas duty would be charged on them if there were available in this country a sufficient quantity of those commodities to meet the demand. Following up Senator Scott's question, it is interesting to observe that at the present time there are some 90 commodities in shortfall in Australia. These commodities normally are produced in Australia, but there is not enough of them being supplied to meet the demand. It fits in exactly with what the Acting Prime Minister was saying when he called for higher productivity. Those 90 commodities include such things as a range of various foodstuffs, raw materials, the base chemicals for chemical manufacture, paper products, steel products, aluminium ingots, strip and foil, aerosols, liquid petroleum gas storage cylinders and various items such as raw yarns for the manufacture of apparel. There is a whole range of commodities. The shortages are so evident in Australia that another 25 commodities are under consideration for admission in the shortfall by-law area. It is up to industry to organise itself to meet these shortages. In any community production in one area has to be transferred to production in other areas, and this has been evident for some time. There are great shortages of commodities in Australia, and those people who undertake the production of them could well expand their production rather than the government being required to admit commodities from overseas free of duty simply because insufficient quantities are being produced in Australia.

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