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Wednesday, 29 August 1906


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I think that the Committee will be disposed to be satisfied with the statement of the Minister ; but one wonders why it was not made when we entered upon the consideration of this Bill this afternoon.


Sir William Lyne - It would have been, but that I was interfered with by the honorable member for New England, who rose as I was about to speak.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That means that the Minister in charge of the Bill would deliberately waste the time of the Committee in order to give a display of his stubbornness and his vindictiveness towards an honorable member.


Sir William Lyne - No.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is what his statement amounts to.


Sir William Lyne - I did not intend to convev such an inference.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) -Both the Minister and his colleague would do well to dismiss such ideas from their minds. We are here to help them to push on with business, but they do not promote that object when they begin hurling across the Chamber accusations in reference to criticism that has been offered. I am not yet quite satisfied with the Minister's- explanation. It is clear that he has in mind the idea of almost solely employing the various States Departments of Agriculture in connexion with this Bill. The question arises whether they have the requisite expert knowledge of these matters. I do not suggest that a Central Bureau of Agriculture should be established at this stage, or in connexion with this Bill. That does not appear to be necessary; but the Minister should satisfy himself that we have the requisite expert knowledge to wisely direct the operations of those who embark upon these industries.


Sir William Lyne - Does not the honorable member think that the authorities of the Wagga experimental farm could give us some useful information?


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - They would know all about the production of olives.


Sir William Lyne - And perhaps they could give us information with regard to other matters.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have in mind several instances where the requisite knowledge was not available, with the result that serious consequences accrued. I remember that when we started a tobacco plantation in New South Wales we obtained from America an expert, to whom we paid a high salary, and that eventually, when the tobacco leaf was produced, we had some of it made up. When Minister of Agriculture I had a box of this tobacco in my room, and handed specimen plugs to members and others who called on me; but I never met a man who could smoke a pipe of it. That was the result of our experiments in tobacco-growing in New South Wales. If we are going to do something similar in connexion with the industries to be encouraged under the Bill, this money will be thrown away. We need to have expert advice available before these operations are commenced. Similarly, if a bounty is to be given for the production of rubber, we must have an expert to direct operations who will know the best kinds of trees to plant, how 1o cultivate them, how to tap them, and all the other details of the industry. Not only is it necessary that the individuals who engage in these enterprises shall be furnished with information as to the best way in which to conduct them, because if they fail it will mean ruin, but the Government will also be interested in insuring success, because failure will mean a blow to the whole bounty system. I hope, therefore, that the Minister will see that the best expert knowledge is available, and that opportunities are given whereby it may be made use of. It seems to me likely that the Queensland Agricultural Department has specialized in regard to a number of the productions mentioned in the schedule. The Queensland Government, for example, pays an expert £2,000 or £3,000 a year to advise in connexion with the cultivation of su ear-cane.


Mr Page - We have several agricultural experts in Queensland.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Government propose to grant , £500,000 in bounties, and probably another £500,000 will be spent by those who enter upon the industries which are to be encouraged. To insure the success of the large expenditure thus involved, the Minister should see that the best expert knowledge is obtained, because such knowledge is essential to success. My desire is that the best scheme which can be devised shall be adopted in connexion with these proposals.







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