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Friday, 6 December 1935

The PRESIDENT - Not under this bill.

Senator E B JOHNSTON - Last year £4,000,000 was allocated from the overflowing revenue in the Treasury, and I trust that a similar amount will be made available this year. Unfortunately, a number of wheat-growers are experiencing drought conditions, particularly the new settlers in the eastern districts of Western Australia. I understand that over £500,000 will be required in that State to relieve the wheat-growers, who, owing to climatic conditions, are suffering greater hardships this year than they did last year. Provision should also be made for the payment of 3d. a bushel on a production basis, or 3s. an acre on an area basis. I urge the Government to arrange that the money to be raised under this measure shall be distributed at least on the same basis as last year and that special help will be given to the drought-stricken areas.

Senator Payne - Does it not follow that the distribution will be made on the same lines as last year ?

Senator E B JOHNSTON - I have not been so told by the Government, although I have asked question after question in efforts to obtain this information. If the honorable senator will bring pressure on one of the Ministers to give an assurance that the distribution made last year will be followed this year, I shall be pleased to resume my seat immediately. I am glad that the Parliament is passing this bill, providing machinery for the raising of money for the assistance of the wheat industry, but we should also be in the possession of knowledge a3 to how that money is to be distributed. If honorable senators leave Canberra to-night without this information from the Commonwealth Government, and without passing legislation to distribute this money amongst the growers, it will "not be through lack of effort on my part to get it. Parliament should not adjourn until we have legislated for the relief of distressed wheatgrowers.

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