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Monday, 25 February 1985
Page: 121


Senator ARCHER(3.45) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the paper.

I wish to make only a couple of short points. The 1976 report of the Industries Assistance Commission identified the primary cause of the dried fruit industry's problem as being too great a dependence on low return export markets. Since that time the Australian market increasingly has been attacked by overseas producers, with the result that concern is now emerging, in this industry and others, about the political insecurity of legislative support for industry marketing arrangements. This is another case of an industry that is not sufficiently satisfied that the Government feels for it and is prepared to give it some support. It also needs support from other producers who are depositing fruit on world markets at unproductive prices.

We have to take into account the fact that Greece is now a member of the European Economic Community. I feel sure that it will increase its production of dried fruits and that, firstly, it will try to sell to Australia and, secondly, it will sell to markets in which Australia has traditionally sold. There has been an inquiry into the dried fruits industry, but that is a matter which appears later in the list of papers. In the meantime, let the Parliament be aware that this is a long established industry with considerable socio-economic effects in isolated parts of Australia, and these factors need to be taken into account and dealt with accordingly.