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Wednesday, 9 March 1932

Mr BEASLEY (West Sydney) . - Early this year I had an opportunity of visiting Tasmania, and through the courtesy of certain prominent gentlemen there, I was able to visit some of the large apple orchards. When inspecting one of these orchards, it was brought to my notice that certain regulations which are the cause of great anxiety hang over the heads of the growers, although, up to the present time, effect has not been given to them. Large areas are planted with apple trees of the Hoover and Prince Alfred varieties, and these are listed among the varieties the export of which may be prohibited. I understand that these are good varieties, and although they are now being exported, the Minister for Markets may give effect to the regulations at any time, and thus prohibit their export. On the 9th November, 1928, the Supervisor of Exports sent the following communication to the particular grower whose position was brought under my notice : -

In connexion with the forthcoming overseas fresh fruit export season, attention is directed to the following amendments to the Commerce (General Exports) Regulations, which have been submitted to the Minister, and which, on approval, will take effect from the 1st January, 1929: - "The Regulations are to be further amended as from 1st January, 1931, to provide that the export of the following varieties of apples shall be prohibited. . . .

Then follow the names of several varieties of apples, including Alexander, Allington Pippin, Hoover, and Prince Alfred. This grower informs me that he has received very satisfactory account sales for his fruit, and he thinks that the growers should be permitted to export the varieties which they find to be payable, provided they market a good sample of apple that is true to description, so that the buyer receives a fair deal. Growers are not likely to continue to produce fruit which is unsaleable; it is in their best interests to ship overseas only good export varieties. Honorable members, will, no doubt, be surprised to learn that these growers stand in this position, that at any time the export of their fruit may be prohibited, after it has been packed and sent to the waterfront. My correspondent says -

So far as I am aware, plenty of these Hoover apples are shipped from New Zealand to the

United Kingdom and find a ready sale there. I hope that the axe which continually hovers over the heads of those of us who grow the varieties of apples put on the prohibition list, as per quotation above, will be removed, so that we will be able to look forward to tending our trees with every confidence that we shall be permitted to market the fruit from the said trees continually.

The Markets Department should see that the growers are not left in an uncertain position. They have been engaged in the industry for a long period. Some of their trees appear to be 30 years old, and are producing large quantities of fruit. I hope that the Minister will give careful consideration to this matter, and, if necessary, obtain additional information regarding it, so that the growers may be relieved of their anxiety.

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