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Thursday, 25 February 1932

Mr LYONS - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follow: -

1.   My statement to the Loan Council in regard to sugar was as follows: - One factor in the cost of living with which the Commonwealth as a whole and the State of Queensland, in particular, are closely concerned is sugar. Its cost to the consumer is fixed by the terms of the Sugar Agreement to which these two governments are parties and which, although not entered into by my government, is recognized by it as binding. Under this agreement, whilst practically every section of the community has had during the last two years to submit to heavy reductions in income, whether from wages or any other source, the sugar industry, having regard to the increased purchasing power of money, is maintained at much the same standard as it gained in the days of Australia's greatest prosperity. The Commonwealth Government fuels that this is an anomaly, and it proposes to invite the parties to the agreement to review its terms so that this industry should share in the general reduction to which all other industries, and, indeed, practically every other section of the community in Australia, has had to submit. A reduction in the price of sugar in the household would have a substantial effect in reducing the cost of living, and thereby widening the fields of production in all industries. 2, 3, and 4. My statement to the Loan Council contains no reference to any specific amount by which it might be possible to reduce the price of sugar, and incidentally, the cost of living, nor does it contain any reference to a reduction in the basic wage.

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