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Friday, 19 March 1926

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) . - Will the board, when appointed, visit the areas referred to by the Minister, and ascertain for itself the conditions existing there? It would be interesting and informative to know thenumber of persons in Australia who' are engaged in growing currants, and not making a success of their holdings.

Senator Reid - The board will inquire into that.

Senator FINDLEY - There is nothing in the bill to say what the board will do. When Mildura was first opened up, the absence of railways increased the difficulties of the early pioneers. Many of them suffered, not only inconvenience and hardship, but also financial loss. After federation efforts were made to grant those engaged in the fruit-growing industry, especially those producing currants, a measure of protection, and after persistent efforts a duty of 3d. a lb. was placed on imported currants. With the whole of the Australian market before them, many of the growers did exceptionally well. Their success encouraged others to engage in the production of curl rants, with the result that in time the supply was sufficient to meet the requirements of the home market. At that stage their difficulties really commenced. Yet the Minister, in an effort to solve those difficulties, proposes to place more men on the land to grow more currants.

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