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Thursday, 8 October 1936

Senator BRENNAN - The honorable gentleman gave the impression that the bounty was some fixed sum from which the amount set aside for research was taken.

Senator Collings - The bounty has been reduced progressively from £130,000 to £100,000, and then to £80,000.

Senator BRENNAN - The Government is under no obligation to pay to this or any other industry a fixed amount of bounty each year. In regard to the apple and pear industry, it decided to grant assistance by setting aside a certain stun for disbursement among the growers, and a further sum for scientific research. Other honorable senators have complained of the meagreness of the bounty, and have expressed regret that the Government has not been more generous I am not sure that a government should be generous when dealing with public funds which it holds as trustee for the people. The Government was as generous as it could afford to . be, having regard to the financial position of the country generally.

As to the figures which have been given, showing the losses sustained this year by growers, I point out that Tasmania sells about 60 per cent, of its output on consignment; whereas the other States sell from 70 per cent, to SO per cent, of their crop on an f.o.b. basis. The only complaint received by the Government this year has come from Tasmania; but because discrimination between States is not constitutionally permissible, the other States will participate in the bounty.

Senator Collings - "What is the estimated expenditure with a bounty of 4-Jd. a case?

Senator BRENNAN - A bounty of ls. a case would represent a total expenditure of about £275,000 j so that, on the basis of 4£d. a case, something over £100,000 is involved.

Senator Collings - On the figures given by the Assistant Minister, the bounty will not reach that sum.

The other matter on which I desire to comment is the remarkable statement made by Senator Sampson. It is all very well to say that there are too many middlemen in the industry, and to complain about the exorbitant rates charged by a shipping monopoly, but the honorable senator gave a striking concrete example showing that the growers must attend to several matters themselves before they can justly blame other persons for losses in their industry.

Senator Sampson - We have had a " go " at the shipping monopoly.

Senator BRENNAN - The Government has not lost sight of the problem of shipping freights as it applies either to this or to any other industry, and that matter is still being dealt with.

Senator Collings - But the robbery continues while the Government sleeps on the job.

Senator BRENNAN - I do not concede that robbery by the shipping companies is going on, or that the Government is sleeping on this matter; I concede that the costs of transport are very heavy, but to what extent they, are inordinately, or unjustly, heavy I am not in a. position to say.

Senator Collings - In spite of that the Government sold its line of steamers.

Senator BRENNAN - The sooner Ave obliterate the memory of the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers the better.

Senator Collings - Those ships have not been paid for yet.

Senator BRENNAN - I have no desire to enter into an argument on this matter with the very small, but very active minority in this chamber. I thank honorable senators for tlie support they have given to this measure, and I hope thai; the bill will be read a second time.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.

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