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Thursday, 8 October 1936

Senator ARKINS (New South Wales) . - I am pleased that the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) has made this explanation, because the matter has been disturbing the minds of a large section of the New South Wales public, and has not previously been thoroughly elucidated. The Minister said that the Government had determined not to gran a bounty to any primary producers until they had shown interest in the organization of their own industry.

Senator HARDY - The citrus industry is a difficult one to organize.

Senator ARKINS - Yes, and the Government should take a hand in the work. Funds could be made available for the purpose. There is scope for useful investigation on the western coast of the United States of America, where the citrus industry has been put into a remarkably successful position. What has been accomplished there stands, I think, without parallel as an effort by a primary industry to organize its markets.

The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) took me to task for interfering with him in the making of his own speech, but I had no desire to influence him in that regard. He believes that the only panacea for marketing ills i; governmental* control. I know of no instance of that method having prove( successful, but I am aware that excellent results have been obtained in various parts of the world by means of cooperative efforts on the part of the producers. Where governmental interference in industry has been tried, the national interests have not always been well served. I remind the honorable senator that in New South Wales, some years ago, a Labour government saw fit to enact what was called a profiteering prevention act. The net was thrown out, and, after fishing for some time, what sort of fish do honorable senator.? imagine was caught? The first culprit to be discovered was a Labour ex-Lord

Mayor of Sydney and he was eventually prosecuted ! Successful marketing organization cannot be obtained unless those carrying out the work are free from selfish or personal interests.

I commend the Government for bringing down this bill, and urge that definite action be taken to organize the citrus industry in New South Wales. The margin between success and failure is small; and every effort should be made to build up a secondary industry alongside the primary industry by the proper utilization of the by-products of the fruit. The Government seems to have chastised the growers for not having achieved success in the organization of their industry, but I should like the Ministry to work hand in hand with them, with a view to making the production of citrus fruits as successful in Australia as it is in some other parts of the world. Australia produces remarkably good oranges to-day, as compared with those grown 25 years ago. The improvement is almost incredible. This country grows some of the finest citrus fruits to be found in any part of the world, and it is regrettable that the industry is impoverished because of lack of markets. The ravages of the Mediterranean fruit fly prevent the growers from participating in the valuable New Zealand market. The present dispute with New Zealand seems to have developed into a battle between the growers of oranges and the growers of potatoes, and the sooner the disabilities which affect those products are wiped out the better it will be for all concerned. The New South Wales citrusgrowers have suffered long and fairly patiently, and I hope that ere long the industry throughout Australia will be so well organized that it will be placed on a permanent and sound basis, and become one of our greatest primary industries.

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