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Wednesday, 7 August 1946

Mr CHIFLEY - The sugar-growers organizations of New South Wales and Queensland submitted to me a request for the extension of the subsidy to the users of sugar bags. On the first occasion on which the matter was raised, the amount involved was £300,000. Since then, apparently, from the figures mentioned by the honorable member for Richmond, the amount has increased. It is true that a subsidy is paid to wheat-growers and wool-growers in respect of the jute goods that they use. But sugar-growers receive extensive subsidies on the fertilizers that they use. The particular reason why the request for the extension of the subsidy to the users. of jute goods in the sugar industry was rejected, was that the Tariff Board had inquired into the industry and reported that its financial position was very satisfactory. The then Minister for Trade and Customs, Senator Keane, submitted the whole of the facts to Cabinet, which considered, in view of the report, that no justification existed for subsidizing jute goods for the sugar industry. However, the fertilizer subsidy, which is paid to all primary producers, was continued. Recently, I received further representations from the sugargrowers' organizations, and I promised that the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator J. M. Fraser) and I would re-examine the matter. - We determine on behalf of the Government the payment of subsidies in connexion with the stabilization of industries. I shall reexamine this matter in view of the fact that some changes may- have occurred since the Tariff Board submitted its last report.

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