New Zealand Timber in Victoria.
During a recent Bitting of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, when some of the postponed items of the tariff were under consideration, Mr Patterson (Minister of Customs), referring to " timber and building materials," moved that the line " All other undressed of the size of 12in square or larger" should be amended to read "All other undressed of the size of 7in x 2|in or larger." This would leave the duty the same as at present, and the persons engaged in the trade, both masters and men, had urged upon him that this should be done.
Mr Mountain considered that the Commissioner of Customs had acted wisely in making this alteration. The amendment would not affect the hard wood sawmillers at all. A duty on timber 12in square would have been almost prohibitory, and would have prevented Baltic timber from coming in at all without the payment of the larger duty. He would move an amendment to strike out the words "New Zealand pine" from the list of exceptions. Our market had recently been flooded with New Zealand pine of the smaller sizes, and our operatives were deprived of the work of cutting the timber. A large amount of Victorian capital had recently been invested in New Zealand sawmills and timber areas, and the operatives of that colony were now employed in doing work which was formerly done by Victorian operatives when timber was imported in large flitches or logs. Now the timber was brought in flooring sizes in the rough for the sake of saving the duty. The effect of the amendment would simply be to place New Zealand pine upon the same footing as "other timber," which paid 2s 6d per 100 ft. Mr Patterson: The amendment was now mentioned for the first time, and he would therefore ask for time to consider it. There would be another opportunity of considering the matter, and therefore he trusted the hon. member would withdraw the amendment.
Mr Mountain accepted the suggestion of the Commissioner of Customs, and withdrew the amendment. Mr Wheeler considered it would be better to allow Oregon in " bulk " to come in free, and it would provide labor for the people to cut it up. * Mr Madden did not think it would be wise to disturb the arrangement which had been made, and which had been agreed to by those interested. The hon. member for South Melbourne had said that Victorian capital was developing the New Zealand pine trade. If so, that was a reason why we should have some sympathy for the persons embarked in that trade, and not be ready to throw them over without reason. Mr G. D. Carter trusted that the Commismissioner would adhere to his own proposals. If no better occupation could be found for our people than cutting large timber it was a great reflection on the productiveness of the colony. Mr Patterson's amendment was carried, and the item, as amended, agreed to, the effect being to retain New Zealand pine in the list of exceptions.
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New Zealand Timber in Victoria., Evening Star, Issue 8028, 3 October 1889
New Zealand Timber in Victoria. Evening Star, Issue 8028, 3 October 1889
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