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Wednesday, 13 May 1942

Senator FRASER - On the 30th April last, Senator Herbert Hays asked the Minister assisting the Minister for Commerce, upon notice -

1.   Will the Minister make an early statement setting out all terms and conditions Under which the Government proposed to deal with the proposal to encourage the increased production of potatoes and other vegetables for the year 1942-43?

2.   Will the scheme be carried out and controlled by the States on behalf of the Commonwealth, or by officers of the Commonwealth?

The Minister for Commerce has now supplied the following answer : -

Potatoes and other vegetables are being treated as separate problems. Arrangements are made with individual growers for the production of vegetables at firm prices for the specific needs of the fighting services. Special provision is not made for civilian requirements, but the effect of catering specifically for the services is to leave considerable proportions of normal vegetable production for civil consumption. The vegetable scheme is carried out by the Commonwealth Departments of Supply and Development and Commerce with the active supportof the State Departments of Acriculture the Ministers of which are chairmen of the Defence Food Advisory Committees in their respective States. Control of the potato industry is now being undertaken by the Australian Potato Committee, which was recently established under National Security Regulations. Contracts will be made with growers and a guaranteed minimum price will operate to ensure a reasonable return to the producers. Departments of Agriculture are co-operating and Agricultural Department officers are chairmen of the State committees dealing with the detailed administration. The committee will arrange through the States for increased production sufficient to meet all demands, both civil and defence.

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