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Thursday, 4 August 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- I regret that the request proposed by Senator Earle has been beclouded to a great extent by some of those who have taken part in the discussion! The figures quoted by Senator Lynch are interesting and reliable, but they have no bearing on the request proposed by Senator Earle - they have no bearing at all on the request that the evaporated or dried apple industry should have a fair and reasonable measure of protection. Senator Lynch has quoted the export figures of raisins, currants, and other dried fruits; but I have never yet heard that the people interested in the production of such fruits have made any request for an increase in the duties. On the contrary, I was given to understand at Mildura that the producers are perfectly satisfied with the protection which they have had for some time, and which was given in order to encourage the cultivation of such fruit at Mildura and elsewhere. The industry, under the present protection, has been very successful; but this is an entirely different industry from that referred to by Senator Earle. The dried apple industry is quite a new one in Australia, brought into existence owing to the fact that it was found impossible to insure the necessary space for the export of our better-class fruit to the Home Land.

Senator Crawford - "When was the industry established?

Senator PAYNE - Only within the last three or four years has it been established to any extent.

Senator Crawford - What!

Senator Russell - It was established owing to the fact that the British Government bought 40,000 tons of such produce because they could not get refrigerated space.

Senator PAYNE - Of course, time flies very rapidly, .but it is only within quite recent years that the industry has at all developed. Those engaged in apple growing have been forced to devise means for getting some return for that part of the crop which they cannot market as fresh fruit. The drying and evaporating of apples is an industry which is in a different category from the currant and raisin industry. When primary producers find that they cannot make a profit, they are justified in asking for more protection, and it is not usual for successful producers to ask for an. increase of duty. Australia supplies her own demand for currants and raisins, and her exportation of these fruits is increasing; but I do not under normal conditions anticipate any great exportation of dried and evaporated apples. During the war foodstuffs found a ready market, because the people of so many countries were then forced to concentrate their energies upon warfare, but to-day the position has changed. - Nevertheless, the drying and evaporating of apples is an industry which is helpful to the growers of that fruit, whose difficulties seem to increase every year, and we should do what we can to improve their condition. Iri Tasmania orcharding and the growing of small fruits has been for some years a very important industry. If the returns could be analyzed, Senator Lynch would find that there has been but - a small exportation of dried apples, and I believe that to-day there is no export trade in them. .

Senator Cox - What other dried fruits would be exported ?

Senator Earle - Dried pears, peaches, and apricots.

Senator PAYNE - I am confining my remarks ta the dried apple industry, and, in my opinion, there is no similarity between it and the dried-fruits industry referred to. by Senator Lynch.

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