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Friday, 19 March 1926


Senator FOLL (Queensland) . - I should like' some information from the Minister (Senator Wilson) before the bill passes the second reading, particularly concerning the position of those engaged in the growing of currants. The Minister stated yesterday that the sultana industry was in a more favorable position. Are we to understand that the growers of currants who, it appears, have to be helped with a subsidy each year from the Consolidated Revenue, are to be encouraged to go out of the business and concentrate on the production of sultanas? If this course is adopted, is it not likely that there will be a glut in sultanas, with the result that those engaged in the business will be in the position of the currant growers of to-day?


Senator Findley - It will be a serious matter, because it will be three or four years before the curran't, growers who turn their attention to sultanas, will get a return. In the meantime, they will require assistance.


Senator FOLL - As Senator Findley has indicated, it will be a serious matter if men on the River Murray settlements have to be carried by the Government for three or four years until their areas come into profitable production again. If we have to vote money every year for the industry, I doubt whether it is worth while continuing, in the business. Failure in soldier settlements is not confined to areas set apart for settlement on the River Murray. In the Stanthorpe, Beerburrum and Samford districts of Queensland, there has been a large number of failures owing to the fact that inferior land was made available for soldier settlement by the State Labour Government. Some of the country made available to soldier settlers within 20 or 30 miles of Brisbane had been passed over by practical primary producers as unsuitable for cultivation.


Senator Graham - On whose recommendation was it allotted to soldier" settlers ?


Senator FOLL - The State Lands Department had sole control of the matter.

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon.

T.   "Givens). - The honorable senator is not entitled to use this bill as a peg on which to hang a discussion on soldier settlement.


Senator FOLL - I merely wish to draw attention to the fact that soldier settlers in various parts of the Commonwealth are as much in need of assistance as those in the dried fruit areas. Since the Commonwealth has millions of pounds invested in land settlement schemes, I wish to know if the Government intends to look into this problem. So far as Queensland is concerned, the soldier settlers are clamouring for further assistance.







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