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Friday, 4 November 1938

Mr NAIRN (Perth) . - I invite the committee to examine the Tasmanian proposal very closely, particularly in its probable effects on other States. Take the case of Queensland, which requires an outlet for about 50,000 bushels of apples each year. If the quota is fixed according to the Tasmanian proposal, the Queensland apple-growers may give up all prospect of ever extending their operations, for as their output is regular now, they will never be able to increase it.

Mr Frost - Queensland imports apples at times.

Mr NAIRN - That does not alter the effect of my statement. New South Wales is a. considerable producer of apples, but only a small exporter of them , yet in some years the State has a bumper crop. On the other hand seasonal fluctuations, such as that of 1932, seriously affect the position. South Australia also suffers from lean and fat years. A bumper crop may be followed by a very poor one. The following figures indicate the quantity of apples exported from South Australia in each of the last six years : -


If we adopt the Tasmanian proposal to take into account only the export for the last three years, South Australia's quota would be 141,000 bushels. That, I submit, would be a very unfair quota for a State which in one year exported 651,000 bushels. Victoria is, to some degree, in the same position as South Australia. Its average production is 2,000,000 bushels, but in 1932, owing to thrips and other pests, its production was only 626,000 bushels. Four years later it produced 3,500,000 bushels and exported 1,500,000 bushels. In such circumstances it is obviously impossible under the Tasmanian proposal to fix a quota, having any regard whatever to the interests of equity. Western Australia has been increasing its production of apples over the last few years, but last year a hailstorm at a critical period caused the production to fall by 400,000 bushels. If the last three years were adopted as the standard for fixing the quota, the Western Australian growers would suffer a. permanent loss in consequence of the heavy seasonal loss of last year. That would be a most unfair position in which to place the growers of that State. Tasmania is fortunate, for in the last few years its production has been fairly regular; but I remember that about ten years ago the Tasmanian growers lost about half their crop through circumstances over which they had no control. But we cannot be expected to adopt the three-year basis as the standard for the export quota simply because Tasmania has had a good production in the last three or four years. Even Tasmania may suffer again from seasonal fluctuations.

Mr Frost - We are prepared to risk it.

Mr NAIRN - Why impose unnecesTasmania wants the quota fixed on this basis because it is favorable to the State.

Mr Barnard - Nothing of the kind.

Mr NAIRN - Honorable gentlemen from that State wish toassure their growers of a sense of security formany years to come, but they cannot expect us to agree to quotas without having regard to the circumstances of the whole of Australia. All States are entitled to reasonable consideration in this matter. In my opinion, the Assistant Minister's proposal is the most satisfactory, for it would enable the board to give consideration to the production for the last three year? and also to other relevant circumstances that should be borne in mind. I believe that the board should be unhampered in its work. I therefore hope that the committee will reject the proposal from Tasmania, and accept the view of the AssistantMinister.

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