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Wednesday, 26 November 1941

Senator ARTHUR (New South Wales) . - When I obtained leave to continue my remarks earlier to-day I was about to state that the present Government has inherited a legacy of difficulty due to the maladministration of its predecessors in connexion with the fruit-growing industry. I refer particularly to the treatment of some growers of apples in New South Wales, among whom are numbers of returned soldiers from the last war who were settled on the land at heavy cost to the Government of that State. Many of these primary producers have been ruined deliberately by a previous government. When the Apple and Pear Acquisition Scheme was brought in early this year, it was placed under the control of the then Minister for Commerce (Sir Earle Page), who passed the responsibility on to the Assistant Minister for Commerce (Mr. Anthony), who is one of the principal banana-growers in New South Wales. In appointing a man to operate the scheme in New South Wales, Mr. Anthony chose another big banana-grower to be a dictator in the distribution of apples and pears in New South Wales. The man chosen, Mr. Stevenson, was supposed to take instructions from a State committee, but he set himself up as the dictator of the apple industry, and took steps to ruin the growers. Early in January of this year a meeting of wholesale and retail dealers in apples was held in Sydney. They were asked to say if they would co-operate with the Government, and 98 distributors in Sydney offered to do so. Mr. Stevenson, however, selected only 43 of them, and told the others that they would have no further trade. Some of those were men who had been 30 or 40 years in the trade, and had clients all over Australia. Later, Mr. Stevenson reduced the number of distributors still further. On the 8th January the following circular was sent to growers : -

Circular to all Registered Growers.

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