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Friday, 18 September 1936

Senator MARWICK (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) .- Whilst I realize the necessity to pass this bill to-day in order to enable the pensioners to receive their pension increases next Thursday, I cannot allow this opportunity to pass without protesting against the exclusion of the wheat industry from participation in the fertilizer subsidy. Perhaps there is a lot in what Senator Hardy has said in regard to educating pastoralists and graziers in the use of superphosphates, but I maintain that that necessity should arise only once, and that after one year's application of superphosphates they should realize the advantages to be gained from top dressing. I, therefore, say that the wheat-growers should be granted this subsidy. I have yet to hear any one say that the wheat-growers are making any more profit than the dairyman, the fruit-grower, or any other primary producer; and I do not believe that any of those industries are profitable at present. Wheat prices at the moment are fairly good, but we have no guarantee that they will remain so. Moreover, it usually happens that when wheat prices rise, the farmers have already sold their grain, and the merchants reap the benefit of the improved market. As a matter of fact, wheat-growers have been left out in the cold. They have to rely on the success or otherwise of the referendum for the amendment of the Constitution if they are to get assistance in the future.

It may be argued that this year they do not require further assistance, but it is unfair that they should be excluded whilst every other branch of primary production is included. I hope to have an opportunity to pursue this subject further when the Estimates come before the Senate.

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