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Wednesday, 18 March 1936

Senator HARDY (New South Wales) . - I cannot allow this opportunity to pass without bringing under the notice of the Senate the desperate plight of the citrus fruit-growers of New South Wales, and of again appealing to the Government to make an additional effort to recapture the New Zealand market. Although we may do everything possible to exploit the market in the United Kingdom, there is no gainsaying the fact that New Zealand is the most profitable market to the Australian citrus fruitgrowers. Those who suffered most severely owing to the collapse of that market were the growers, not in Queensland, but in New South Wales. In discussing the bill to provide a bounty for the 1935 season, I had an opportunity to survey the conditions prevailing in the industry, and to direct attention to the fact that in 1931-32 the total quantity of citrus fruits exported from Australia was 166,250 centals, and of that quantity New South Wales exported 116,557 centals, or 70 per cent. It will, therefore, be seen that when the New Zealand market collapsed the New South Wales growers who were responsible for 70 per cent, of the total export trade suffered most severely. Of the total of 116,557 centals exported by the New South Wales growers, New Zealand purchased 113,578 centals, or 79 per cent. In these circumstances, is it any wonder that we should again appeal to the Government to do everything possible to recapture the New Zealand market? I suggest that the Government should send a Minister immediately to New Zealand to ascertain whether the prejudice which now exists can be broken down.

Senator Collings - It is not a matter of prejudice but of potatoes.

Senator HARDY - If the Labour Government in New Zealand consists of broad-minded men as is alleged, it should not hesitate to admit Australian citrus fruit, and thus assist to place the Australian industry on a firm basis. I am conversant with the difficulty confronting the growers, and I am glad that the Government is again assisting them. In spite of the efforts being made to recover the market in New Zealand, there cannot be real stability in the export industry until the Australian growers, and particularly those in New South Wales, can dispose of their product in the New Zealand market.

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