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Wednesday, 27 April 1932

Mr NOCK (Riverina) .- I wish to bring before the House a matter which is of serious concern to the farmers generally, and which is very much akin to restraint of trade. Many of our producers depend upon tractors for the sowing of their crops. There has recently been placed upon the market a certain fuel which is available to the owners of a certain type of tractor at a price approximately 6d. per gallon below the price of ordinary engine fuel. The firm which has been selling the fuel has . refused absolutely to sell it to the owners of other types of tractor on the ground that it is unsuitable. But the fact is that this fuel has been obtained indirectly by owners of other tractors and found to be quite satisfactory. I have received a complaint in this respect from the Wagga " district, and I know that the farmers in my own district and the western parts of New South Wales are also affected. I suggest that the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Gullett) should try to come to some arrangement with the oil companies to make available to farmers who use tractors fuel at a reasonable price, so that they can produce their wheat economically, and dispose of it profitably on the world's market. .Cheap fuel is absolutely necessary for the farmer in view of the low price that he receives for his product. It is impossible for the producers who use tractors to change over to horses. Horses are not obtainable and even if they were, the farmers could not afford to purchase them. It has been suggested to me that the distributors of tractors have had something to do with the arrangement to restrict the sale of this fuel. I have used the fuel in my own tractor which is not supposed to be suitable for it. My son after taking down the tractor has found the valves and other internal parts to he in quite as good order as when a higher grado and more expensive fuel was being used. This is a matter of great importance to the producers, and I ask the Minister to take some action in their interests.

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