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Thursday, 4 August 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I intend to approach the consideration of this matter with a certain amount of sympathy, because I realize the difficulties with which the fruitgrowers have to contend. But if the Committee, in its wisdom, is going to increase the duty on evaporated apples by Id. per lb., we shall be in an illogical - position in regard to other dried fruits. Currants, raisins, and sultanas, which are small fruits, are dutiable to the extent of 3d. per lb., and in another place a separate sub-item has been inserted under which prunes are dutiable at 4id. per lb. In the course of my varied experiences, I have been interested in apple drying, and there is no doubt that apples that cannot be sold as fresh fruit are used for drying purposes. In America and in Canada the best fruit is marketed for ordinary consumption, and the balance is saved by drying. If a grower receives 2s., 2s. 6d., or 3s. per case for the inferior portion of his crop, that is a saving, because, until the evaporating or dryin gindustry was established under a fairly high Tariff, inferior apples were usually wasted. Senator Payne has said that it requires. 9 or 10 lbs. of apples to produce 1 lb. of dried fruit, and those figures may be accepted as approximately correct. Another phase of the question which has to be considered is that there is about Id. per lb. duty on fresh apples, and, to be consistent, there should be a duty of more than 3d. per lb. on dried apples.

Senator Wilson - It is about three to one.

Senator Earle - One is more easily imported than the other.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is so. Senator Earle has moved to increase the duty on dried apples, and Senator Cox to increase the duty on dried summer fruits, such as peaches, apricots, pears, and nectarines. I cannot possibly vote for an increase of these duties if the duty on currants and raisins is to remain as it K To do so would be most illogical. Later on we may have some one proposing an increase in the duty on preserved ginger by Id. per lb. If these separate articles are dealt with in the way proposed, the Tariff on dried fruits generally will be a most illogical one. I suggest that we should have a test division to decide whether the item shall remain as it is, or whether there shall be a rise of1d. per lb. all round on these dried fruits.

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