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Friday, 2 December 1938

Mr SCULLY (Gwydir) .- The committee must decide whether all the money available is to be devoted towards finding a permanent solution of the problem of marginal lands, or whether some of it is to be devoted towards furnishing temporary relief. If it decides upon the former alternative, an amount of £2,000,000 will he expended during the next four years on the rehabilitation of farmers at present occupying marginal areas, and in this way something will be accomplished that will give permanent relief, not only to the States in which the marginal areas are situated, but also to the other States. The marginal areas, though unsuitable for wheat-growing in general, do in fact, because of their extent, produce a considerable quantity of wheat. If those areas were allowed to go out of production the growers in the other and better areas would benefit. What the committee has to decide is whether it will give permanent relief to the wheat industry or temporary relief to meet seasonal distress. In parts of Queensland and northern New South Wales there are areas under wheat cultivation which have such 'abnormal seasonal changes that sometimes they could be described as marginal areas, whereas in other times, such as this season, they produce prolific crops. Even those areas from which we should like to evacuate the farmers have occasional good seasons.

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