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Wednesday, 16 September 1942

Mr BEASLEY (WEST SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Supply and Development) - by leave- Control of the citrus fruit industry has been exercised for one purpose only, namely, to procure most urgent and essential supplies of citrus juices inorder to meet the requirements of the armed forces in the northern fighting areas. The health of the troops in the north is causing the greatest concern to the responsible authorities. In the absence of fresh green vegetables and other foodstuffs which provide the necessary vitamin C content, it has been determined by the most competent authorities in Australia that large quantities of citrus juices are necessary to maintain the health of the troops. The whole question of control has been discussed most carefully with representatives of the citrus-growing industry. The determination to issue in New South Wales an order controlling the citrus fruit supply within that State was taken only after full discussion, and with the full concurrence of the citrus-growing industry.I wishto make it perfectly plain that there is no intention on the part of the Government to freeze the whole of the available stocks of citrus fruits. On the contrary, under the quota system that has been applied a percentage of the crop has already been released, and additional stocks to meet the needs of the civilian population will be automatically released immediately the requirements of the processing firms have been met. Probably not more than 10 per cent. of the total citrus crop will be taken for defense needs. Whilst the percentage in regard to certain Valencia oranges reached as high as 30 per cent., the balance of the crop will be available for the public. Any absence of stocks of citrus fruits, therefore, will be due not to Government action but to the action of selfish individuals who consider only their own wants and ignore the needs of the children by purchasing large quantities of citrus fruits and holding them in store. If all will restrict their demands for oranges to what may reasonably be regarded as necessary, it will be found that the quota system that has been instituted will enable the essential needs of the civilian population to be met.

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