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Friday, 30 October 1964

Senator ANDERSON (New South Wales) (Minister for Customs and Excise) . - in reply - It is pleasing to note that the Opposition supports this legislation. I hasten to endorse the reference by Senator Toohey to the work of Mr. Eugene Gorman Q.C, the Chairman of the Dried Fruits Control Board. Over the years he has made a tremendous contribution to the industry. When he leaves the Board, it will be with the knowledge that he has .made a great contribution not only to the industry but also to the economic structure of Australia at large. We know that this industry assists our overseas reserves to the extent of £8 million or £9 million a year and that there is a degree of stability which augers well for the future.

Senator Tooheyoutlined some of the main features of the Bill. I do not propose to canvass them again because they were stated fairly clearly in my second reading speech. However, he raised one query on the effect of the stabilisation scheme. As he and other honorable senators know, this stabilisation scheme has been in operation only since May 1964. That is a rather short period on which to base any judgment but I am happy to say, on the advice of my officers, that, speaking in the broad, the scheme has been an unqualified success. It appears that it will function in the very best interests of the people engaged in the industry. It is obvious that adjustments will have to be made as the scheme progresses. The fact that this Bill proposes to alter the structure of the Board is evidence of the need that arises from time to time to make' adjustments. In any stabilisation scheme pockets of problems will arise. The important thing is to know that you have a Board which is well constructed, knowledgeable in its. activities and capable of meeting those situations.

Prices have been stabilised in our export markets under the international pricing agreement concluded by the industries of Turkey, Greece and Australia. Our main pack - sultanas - is selling well. There was an all time record pack of this variety in 1964 and another six months or so may elapse before the pool will be able to make a complete assessment of the position. It is very pleasing to know that the Opposition supports the Bill. I am grateful for the Opposition's co-operation in giving it a speedy passage.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second itme

In Committee.

The Bill.

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