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Thursday, 1 December 1960

Mr FALKINDER (Franklin) . - At first glance it seems that this bill will have quite an impact on growers. At the present time the cost of putting a case, or a bushel - whatever expression one cares to use - of applies on the market is about 15s. 10d., and the proposed increase in the levy will add another 4d. a case to those costs. I believe, however, that the growers of all States will see the wisdom of this increase and what it can do for them in the long term. Every State, with one exception, voted for the increase. The exception was Western Australia, where the recommendation was for an increase to 4d, a case instead of 6d. This speaks for itself, because all of the boards that considered the matter in the various States are composed of members elected by growers. They must, therefore, enjoy the confidence of those who are engaged in the industry.

It has been a contention of mine for a very long time that we should pay much more attention than we have done in the past to publicity overseas. I can recall, as I am sure the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) can, the late chairman of the board, Mr. Ben Mills, ardently advocating much more extensive advertising of our product overseas. We are fortunate in having as the present chairman of the board Mr. Critchley, who was a Trade Commissioner in London, and who, therefore, knows the market extremely well. I feel (hat with his guidance, and with the additional money that will now be coming forward, we can get the very best value possible in the way of advertising.

The honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) was perfectly correct in one of his statements. He said that the Argentine and South Africa are becoming increasingly important competitors of ours. I do not share the pessimism that he displayed in suggesting that in three or four years' time the industry will be in dire straits. For as long as I can remember - and J was practically brought up in an apple-growing area - the forecast has been made, year by year, " Next year is going to be a bad year ". The fact is that production of apples is increasing, but the population of the world is increasing at a tremendous rate. These people still want to eat. On that basis alone I have an abiding faith that in the future we will still have a sound market for apples and pears, despite opposition from Argentina or South Africa. One aspect of the proposal which 1 believe is very sound is that it will devote some money to the prevention of pests and diseases. Without delving too deeply into that subject, we all know there are certain countries that are almost over-zealous in their quarantine regulations, but they are entitled to be. If we want to sell our products on those markets we have to raise them to the standards that those people require. I believe that this provision of the bill is very sound.

One other point I wish to mention, without labouring the subject too far is that on the publicity side in particular we tend to send our apples overseas under so many brands or labels on the boxes that they completely lose their identity. Those brands or labels are probably very picturesque and colourful, but they are apt to miss the point of stressing that these are Australian apples, or that they are Tasmanian apples. The New Zealand exporters never make that mistake when they send their lamb or apples overseas. Their products are known on the market as being entirely New Zealand products.

Mr Duthie - In New Zealand they have not the competition of various States as we have.

Mr FALKINDER - That is true. When sending our products overseas we should devote our minds to accentuating the fact that the apples or pears are Australian products. I have seen plenty of the brands and labels under which our apples and pears are exported, as most honorable members have; and although they are picturesque and colourful they have nothing but a line of print about half an inch high saying that the apples or pears are Australian. This is one avenue to which money can be devoted to assist people overseas to think in the right terms and put Australia over in Covent Garden, in London.

I believe we shall have some other competition in time to come, perhaps from China. China is growing apples in large quantities. There are immense areas under apples in China, but, by the same token, at the present time we have plenty of opportunity to go into the Asian and near-Asian markets in Singapore, Borneo and places like that, where we should devote considerable studies to marketing. I know that the trade promotion section of the Department of Primary Industry is attending to that problem, but I want to see closer attention paid to it. Without prolonging the debate,

I think this measure is a very sound one indeed, and I hope that the industry as a whole will support it.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.

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