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Friday, 2 December 1938

Mr NAIRN (Perth) .- It is an error to suppose that the wheat problem is going to be settled once and for all by expending £500,000 a year to remove farmers from doubtful areas. Somewhere or other in Australia, there is a drought or some other disability every year. If the Darling Downs should ever experience a drought application would be made for relief and, if this bill was so drafted as to preclude that relief from being granted from the revenue which is to be derived from this tax, there would have to be a further call on public funds. Those who consider that the wheat industry has enough or too much now should welcome any plan which would avoid that happening. That disposes of the arguments against the Senate's amendment. The Minister for Commerce (Sir Earle Page) has suggested that one-third of the £500,000 could be devoted to alleviation of distress and two-thirds to the evacuation of doubtful areas. There may be some years in which the seasonal conditions will keep so good that there will be no distress of the kind contemplated in the Senate's amendment, whereas the disstress may be so widespread in another year that the amount of £166,000 would not be sufficient to cope with it. I, therefore, advocate that the Senate's amendment be accepted. This committee should be prepared to trust the State Minister acting in conjunction with the Commonwealth Minister.

Question put -

That the amendment be agreed to.

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