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Wednesday, 5 May 1920

Mr WEST (East 'Sydney) .- This Bill is simply an extension of an overdraft. Under the agreement, there is power to have an overdraft of £500,000 at the Commonwealth Bank. The Bill asks for permission to increase that overdraft to £1,000,000, and there can be no objection to -it, because the money will be handed back in the end. No doubt, we must encourage the production of beet sugar. Owing to the increase of £2 per ton given to' the sugar-cane growers, the price of Queensland sugar-cane land has risen from £10 per acre and £17 per acre to £37 per acre and £40 per acre. In these circumstances, how can we expect cheap sugar from Queensland?

Mr Corser - There are thousands of acres of uncleared land on which sugarcane can be grown.

Mr WEST - If we encourage the beet sugar industry it will vastly assist the jam manufacturing industry and those industries allied with it in various shapes and forms. The only practical way in which to make the sovereign worth 20s. again is to induce greater export of manufactures. It should be our policy to encourage the production of sugar to the greatest extent possible. Great Britain depended on 'German beet sugar, with the result that to-day she is suffering from a sugar famine. If Australia had only had men of foresight at the head of affairs the present situation would have been anticipated. I have said time after time in this House that preparation for peace was possibly even more important than preparation for war. I hope honorable members will study the needs of the country more carefully than hitherto; otherwise I do not see how Australia can hope to return to the favorable position in which Labour left the national finances when it had to give way in 1913 to another Administration. I do not wish to cause any one uneasiness concerning the future,but sensible men should see the need for beginning at once to put our house in order. Queensland has received very fair treatment at the hands of the Federal Government, and it behoves the people of that State now to see thatthey give the citizens of Australia a fair deal by doing their best to bring down the price of sugar.

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