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Friday, 9 October 1931

Mr MORGAN (Darling Downs) . - I associate myself with the remarks of the honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. Riordan) with regard to overseas freight on wool. This is a matter to which I have directed attention on more than one occasion in this House, but I regret to say that, up to the present, I have not been able to secure redress for our woolgrowers. Without traversing the statements of the honorable member for Kennedy, I wish to emphasize the urgent need for government action in the interests of our woolgrowers. The present freight charge was fixed at a time when wool prices were infinitely greater than they are to-day. The industry was than on a profitable basis. Latterly it has been passing through a period of depression, and there has been no corresponding downward trend in freights. It has been urged on several occasions that it is not possible for the Government to tafes action, until there is a united demand from the woolgrowers themselves.

Mr Lewis - Why were theCommonwealth ships sold?

Mr MORGAN - That transaction may be advanced in extenuation of the Government's inactivity, but it cannot be offered as an excuse. There must be some way in which government intervention is possible. Some time ago, a similar situation developed in South Africa, and as a result of government action shipping charges were substantially reduced. Action on similar lines by the Commonwealth Government should result in much needed concessions being secured for our woolgrowers.

Mr Riordan - I think our difficulty is due to the fact that freight charges are fixed in the agreement, so that action by this Parliament would be necessary to rectify the position.

Mr MORGAN - I recognize the difficulties arising out of the agreement with the Overseas Transport Association, but I take the view that difficulties exist only to be overcome, and I am convinced that this Government can surmount them if it has the mind and will to do so. This matter is of such serious import to the wool industry that the Government cannot any longer ignore it. I sincerely hope that some action will bc taken immediately to afford relief to our woolgrowers.

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