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Thursday, 28 March 1946

Mr CHIFLEY (Macquarie) (Prime Minister and Treasurer) . - in reply - The. matters raised by the honorable member for. Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) will be given attention. I understand that the honorable member will furnish some information regarding the petrol position in South Australia to the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping, who will look into the, matter. His remarks im-relation to Buck's Bay also will be given careful consideration.

The honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) and the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) charged the Government with having permitted 50,000 bushels of wheat to be made into dog biscuits, despite the fact that three weeks previously millers were warned not to use wheat for that purpose. It is contended that wheat was sold at 4s. lid. a bushel instead of at a higher price. I do not know the facts of the case hut I shall arrange to have the matter examined. The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) is absent to-day attending a wheat conference.

The honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Adermann) has again referred to the tobacco industry. I recollect that this matter was raised by him when he introduced a deputation to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture some time ago. I understand that his charge is that because appraisers have adopted a certain practice, the substantially increased subsidy by the Government does not benefit the growers. That subsidy had been a matter of contention for many years. The subsidy was paid because otherwise the cost of tobacco to the consumer would have been substantially increased, as during the war the price of imported tobacco almost trebled. The subsidy was based on the lower dividend as compared with the dividend paid before the war. I understand that the honorable gentleman requests the appointment of government appraisers so that the British-Australasian Tobacco Company Limited and other tobacco companies, but particularly the former, because it processes the bulk of tobacco sold on the Australian market, shall be required to pay for Australian leaf prices determined } by a government appraiser, f shall certainly discuss that with the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture. There certainly seems to be some reason for the honorable gentleman's request, if, as he says, that principle' has been applied to other industries.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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