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Thursday, 1 October 1936

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES (South Australia) . - From the Minister's second-reading speech, I understand that the anticipated additional payment due to the continuance of the bounty, but at the reduced rate of Jd. per lb. will be about £4,500.

Senator Brennan - Yes.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - And that the payment in respect of prunes exported during the year ended the 31st December, 1935, at the rate of £d. per lb. will work out at £S,400.

Senator Brennan - That is the estimated amount.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - Apparently it was estimated at £8,500 early this year when the first bill was introduced. I take it that the amount of £12,500 contained in the Estimates for the present year represents the payment for two years.

Senator Brennan - That is so. The bounty for 1935 has not yet been paid.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - In other words, the payment for 1935 will bo nearly double that for 1936.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Exports arc decreasing because of the check placed by the Government on the quality of the fruit which may be exported.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - In theory at least, we all approve of that check from one point of view. It is pleasing to note that, in regard to this industry, there is a tendency to decrease, rather than increase, the amount of the bounty. I wish that the same could be said of other industries. After all, the purpose of granting assistance to an industry is to enable it to place itself on such a footing that, after a while, it will be able to carry on without government assistance. Apparently that is what is happening in the prune industry. When the previous bill was introduced it was said that the bounty would operate for two years, and that no assistance would be given by way of bounty after the expiration of the second year. I should like to know whether that is still the position.

Senator Brennan - Yes.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - It is refreshing to find that, as a result of the assistance given to them, the growers of prunes will be able to manage without government assistance after the expiration of the present year, and that the amount of the assistance has already been reduced considerably. I do not know whether we should congratulate the growers of prunes on not having made further demands, or the Government for refusing to accede to demands; but, as I have said, it is refreshing to find that in this industry at least there is a tendency towards a reduced measure of assistance by the Government.

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