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Wednesday, 26 November 1941

Mr ANTHONY (Richmond) . - I congratulate the Minister upon the introduction of this measure, which, as he has stated, gives effect to a promise made to the producers by the previous Government. That Government assessed the increased cost of superphosphate at 25s. a ton, although it was known that a further rise was expected ; as the honorable gentleman has announced, that rise has since occurred, and amounted to 32s. a ton.

Increases of the price of superphosphate since the beginning of the war serve further to illustrate the heavy burden of costs which the war is placing upon primary producers. The appropriation under this measure will probably amount to approximately £750,000. The bill is a tardy recognition of the difficulties which primary producers all over the Commonwealth are encountering. Some relief from the financial burden under which they are suffering will thus be afforded; but the producer will still be left to bear 30s. a ton of the amount by which the price has increased since the beginning of the war. I forecast that, as the war progresses, whatever government is in office will find it necessary by means of bounties of this character to deal with the financial problems that beset primary producers as the result of increased costs. I am not enamoured of subsidies or bounties, but our important industries cannot, be allowed to go to the wall because of the impossibility of carrying the costs which the war has imposed on them. I commend the bill to honorable members, and trust that it will have a speedy passage.

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