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Thursday, 17 September 1942

Senator KEANE (VICTORIA) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - The sudden increase of the price of oranges is due in part to misunderstandings concerning the supplies of citrus fruits that would be available for the fresh fruit market. Action has been taken by the Government to ensure that a certain proportion of the fruit produced by all growers will be consigned to manufacturers for processing into fruit juice, which is urgently required for the military services. The whole of the crop has not been frozen, and substantial supplies will be available in the open market. The Prices Commissioner has already held a satisfactory conference with the representatives of growers of citrus fruits throughout Australia, and arrangements have been made to review the position in the event of prices reaching an unduly high level. A temporary disturbance of the market owing to a misunderstanding concerning a government order should not be mistaken for permanently high prices. The Prices Commissioner is in close touch with the representatives of the growers, and he arranged for an examination of citrus fruit prices in Sydney yesterday. The margin available to retailers is under control, and the increase of price that took place early this week was due .to the excessive buying by retailers who were under the impression that the whole of the crop had been frozen. Now that that impression has been removed, the market will reach a more satisfactory level

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