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Tuesday, 18 May 1920

Mr HUGHES - On Friday a deputation put its case before me, and in reply I pointed out that at present prices the Government is losing £14 per ton on the sugar it is supplying to the community; but I promised to do what I could. I have not yet had an opportunity to put the matter before my colleagues. Probably the Government has no power except under the War Precautions Act to control the production of beet sugar, but we could control it under that Act until its expiry, which must come about within a certain period after the declaration of peace. At present I can only say that the Government will consider the matter. We are desirous of helping, not of crushing, the beet sugar industry, and I sincerely regret that, after eight years of encouragement by the Government of Victoria and the Commonwealth Government, the total production of beet sugar in this State is the paltry amount of 1,400 tons.

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