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Thursday, 1 October 1936

Senator PAYNE - Yes, the amount was reduced; nevertheless the prunegrowers are to receive 17 per cent, of the value of their crop as a bounty, whilst the orange-growers are to receive 40 per cent, based on a local price of 5s. a case. I do not know whether my estimate of the price is too low. The bounty proposed for the apple and pear growers represents only 7-J per cent, of the value of the crop. I impress upon honorable senators that this industry is not merely a Tasmanian industry; it is well developed in five States. Should any disaster f ollow the limitation of the apple and pear bounty to 4-Jd. a case, involving a breakdown of the export trade,, an enormous number of people will bo thrown on to the labour market. That fact must carry a great deal of weight with the Government. A reliable statement of the distribution of the costs of production in the apple and pear industry is as follows: -


ft will be seen, therefore, that a large proportion of the total cost of production is absorbed in labour. The Minister is in possession of the full statistics of the number of persons engaged directly and indirectly in this industry. In Tasmania alone there are 2,500 registered fruit-growers, and approximately 18,000 persons are employed either directly or indirectly in the industry. In view of the facts I have given, and in view of the desire of the Government to promote as much as possible an increase of primary production within economic limits, E hope that it will give further consideration to requests that the bounty should be considerably increased.

I join with Senator Collings in his suggestion that the Government should communicate with the oversea shipping companies with a view to obtaining a reduction of freight charges for apples and pears. If the industry is forced to the wall, the business of the shipping companies will suffer greatly because of smaller cargoes, and it is, therefore, in their interests that the maintenance of the industry should be ensured. If the shipping companies could be induced by the Government to make a reduction of freight charges the Government could supplement that relief to the extent of bringing the amount of assistance given to the industry up to ls. a case.

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