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Thursday, 18 July 1946

Mr TURNBULL (WIMMERA, VICTORIA) . - I, too, am of the opinion that the 1945-46 crop should not be included in this stabilization scheme. The Go vernment cannot justify its action in that regard. There is no warrant for inclusion, but countless reasons could be advanced in support of exclusion. Perhaps never before' has it been so necessary for the wheat-growers to have the extra money which should be available to them from the 1945-46 harvest. Up and down the country, fencing is in a state of disrepair and houses are dilapidated. During years of war and drought, the producers have carried on at a loss in the national interest, and their position is now uneconomic. Last year, there was drought in many places. Nevertheless, some wheat-growers produced crops. Those who did so are justified in asking that what they produced shall be excluded from this scheme. Many wheat-growers entered into financial commitments, believing that they would receive the full value of their crop, and these have to be met. A member of the Government has told me that long before harvesting the wheat-growers knew that the Minister intended that the crop should be included in the stabilization scheme, and they had not then entered into any financial commitments. That Minister represents a wheat-growing constituency in Western Australia. His statement proves how little he knows about the obligations of the wheat-growers. The wheat-grower undertakes financial obligations long before his crop is produced, perhaps before the fallow of the previous year. He has to look ahead. He is a man of foresight and enterprise. The Government is now determined to include his 1945-46 crop in the stabilization scheme, and thus leave him " high and dry ". Many of the growers will not be able to meet their financial obligation*, which they undertook honestly and fully intended to meet. In a time of desperate need, after a war, any amount, however small, is important to the primary producer. The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) has said that the aggregate amount will be £9,000,000. Some of the growers may be involved to an amount of £1,000, whilst others may expect to receive only £100. I impress on the Government the necessity for making this money available. If I have to fight the whole scheme on no other ground than the intention to include this harvest in it, I shall fight throughout this sitting.

Amendment negatived.

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