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Thursday, 8 March 1928

Senator CRAWFORD (QueenslandHonorary Minister) - I hope that honorable senators 'will not be influenced by the statement of Senator Carroll that maize to-day is quoted at 3s. 9d. a bushel. Any one who has a knowledge of the cost of producing maize knows very well that 3s. 9d. a bushel in Melbourne or Sydney is not a payable price to the grower. It, therefore, cannot be regarded as an average price. If it could be so regarded, then I say without hesitation that no one would be growing maize in Australia to-day.

Senator Kingsmill - What is the average price of maize ? '

Senator CRAWFORD - Maize could not be sold to-day at a profit to the grower under 6s. a bushel. Maize is a crop which is sown in the spring and matures quickly, but as it is not a grain which keeps well . it must be marketed quickly. Probably on account of the abundance of green feed there is not a great demand for maize at the present time. If it is sold to-day at 3s. 9d. per bushel, the price realized is less than the cost of production.

Senator Elliott - Would Mr. MacRobertson's factories consume 50 per cent. of the maize crop?

Senator CRAWFORD - Their consumption would be nothing like that proportion. In fixing a duty on a manufactured article we must consider what is likely to be the average price of the raw material. In the case of maize, 3s. 9d. per bushel certainly cannot be regarded as an average price. I hope that honorable senators will not be influenced by the fact that at present the maize market is in a depressed condition.

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