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Friday, 2 August 1946

Mr Francis s asked the Minister for Commerceand Agriculture, upon notice -

1.   In view of the recent announcement that 35,000 tons of meat for export to Britain were lost by the. Queensland meat strike, does he expect that Australia's target of 120,000 tons ofmeat for Britain, as announced by the Deputy Prime Minister two months ago, will be achieved this year?

2.   How much meat has already been shipped this year?

3.   Having regard to the special needs of Britain for the maximum of food supplies for the maintenance of its people, what special steps have been taken to step up killing for export to ensure that Australia's target for meat for Britain will be reached this year?

Mr Scully - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   The revised target for meat for the United Kingdom is 265,000 tons. It is expected that the target will be reached, as there are particularly heavy freight commitments for the second half of the year.

2.   Tentative figures of shipments of meat to June, 1946, were 80,000 tons.

3.   The Commonwealth Government has undertaken the purchase of meat for export in the several States of the Commonwealth at prices related to the ceiling until the 30th September, 1946. Substantia] quantities of meat totalling more than. 30,000 tons in New South Wales and Victoria have already been placed in store for export under this scheme. Producers will benefit considerably from this ' action, as the losses incurred in respect of such exports will be borne by the Government.

Mail Service to Flinders Island.

Mr Calwell l. - On the 25 th July, the honorable member for Bass (Mr, Barnard) asked whether arrangements could be madefor all second-class mail matter to and from Flinders Island to be conveyed by air during the period the Loetta is laid up for repairs.

The Postmaster-General has supplied the f ollowing answer : -

In normal circumstances, all first-class mail matter is conveyed to and from Flinders Island by air and second-class mail is carried by sea. Unfortunately, the mail service with FlindersIsland has been seriously dislocated during the past two weeks. First, due to the extremely adverse weather conditions, the aerodrome on FlindersIsland has had to be closed for normal purposes, and, secondly, the Loetta had been withdrawn for repairs. Arrangements have been made in collaboration with the Department of Civil Aviation to forward asmuch mail ass can be carried by a light aircraft to Flinders Island. It was hoped that a flight would be made to-day, but becauseof the continuance of bad weather this has been found to be impracticable. The Commonwealth Shipping Board had arranged for the steamerNarracoopo, which usually serves King Island, to leave Launceston at 3 p.m. to-day for Flinders Island, and all ' accumulated second-class mail matter would have been carried by this vessel on the forward and return trips. Owing to the continued bad weather conditions in Bass Strait, however, the Narracoopa is still sheltering at King Island, and her departure from Launceston for Flinders Island is indefinite. It will be appreciated by the honorable member that the regrettable inconvenience which is being caused to residents of Flinders Island in the absence of normal mail facilities has been due to circumstances beyond the control of the Postal Department. He may rest assured, however,* that the matter is. being closely watched and that all practicable steps are being taken to provide special mail services to and from Flinders Island pending a resumption of the regular facilities.

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