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Thursday, 1 October 1936

Senator ALLAN MACDONALD (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) . - I heartily agree that on the figures quoted by Senator Payne 4^d. a case i3 not nearly enough assistance for this industry, which is of great importance to the Commonwealth. In Western Australia, the apple industry has expanded tremendously during the last twenty years, and in recent competitions overseas Western Australian apples, in their red jarrah cases, have won favorable notice. It seems alarming that sellers of apples on an f.o.b. basis obtain approximately on]}7 Id. a case for their product. Orcharding is a hard job entailing work all the year round. Recently, many orchardists replanted their orchards in order to eliminate undesirable varieties, and yet, after all their labour and expense. ir. many instances their reward is only Id. a case. In my State, drought conditions are more severe than any experienced since the great drought of 1914. This applies particularly to the Bridgetown and the Mount Barker districts, in which the orchards are mostly situated. At Mount Barker, the residents have had to draw water supplies from an old well which had not been used for 30 years, but which played its part in the old coaching days on the route from Perth to Albany. At Bridgetown the season has also been unusually dry. Therefore, in addition to the high cost of production, and the difficulties arising from low prices, the orchardists in Western Australia have to overcome the additional handicap of a bad season. I appeal to the Government to increase the bounty. I do not say offhand that it should be ls. a case, because I am not competent to express an opinion as to the actual rate. After hearing the figures quoted by Senator Payne, however, I am convinced that 4jd. is not enough.

I commend the Government upon the provision in the bill making more elastic the conditions under which growers may apply for the bounty. It is not always possible for growers to lodge their applications by a specific date, and the amendment will be appreciated. I suggest that « similar provision be inserted in respect of the fertilizers subsidy.

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