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Wednesday, 16 September 1942

Mr MARTENS (HERBERT, QUEENSLAND) - Is the Minister for Supply and Development aware that immediately after the announcement was made that supplies of citrus fruits were to be frozen, the price of oranges was increased by 4s. a case, and the retail price for oranges and apples by1s. a dozen? Will he see that, in future, before government announcements of the kind arc made, the interests of the consuming public will be properly protected ?

Mr BEASLEY - The statement I have just made indicates to the public that the percentage of citrus fruits to be taken for the forces is a comparatively small one compared with the total crop. If the public would play the game, there would be no need for price increases of the kind mentioned, nor would it be necessary to take action to control the situation.

Mr MARTENS - What is the Prices Commissioner doing?

Mr BEASLEY - I am not here to criticize the Prices Commissioner. I realize that the problem of fixing and controlling prices is a colossal one; but we have to face it. The Prices Commissioner is dealing with this matter at the present time. His branch is under the control of the Minister for Trade and Customs, to whom I shall refer the honorable member's question. In the meantime, we are doing all we can to stabilize prices.

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