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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON (Barker) (4:43 AM) . - The bill represents a departure from the principles of the Dairy Produce Export Control Act. As the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Duncan-Hughes) has pointed out, it is proposed to authorize the Dairy Produce Board to make recommendations for the improvement of dairy produce. I do not deny that there is room for improvement, especially in South Australia, but when we realize the discrepancy between what the producers have received and what the consumers have had to pay it becomes clear to us that there is something very wrong. It is impossible to get butter for less than nothing, and that is what the producers have received for third-grade butter, whilst for second grade the maximum price received was 6d. per lb. Nevertheless, this butter was being disposed of at prices ranging from 8d. to ls. Id. per lb. There is an obligation upon the Minister for Commerce (Mr. Scully) to clear up this matter. The reduction of the number of dairy cattle in South- Australia is alarming. Two years ago, some honorable members, including the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis), thought that I should urge dairy-farmers to produce more butter. It is just aa well that I did not oblige them. Before very long, we shall be faced with the problem of maintaining our production at a level that will meet our own requirements and certain export obligations. The dairying industry will experience difficult times in the near future. Apart from the problem of labour, the shortage of supplies of superphosphate is causing great anxiety, because high-grade pastures cannot be maintained without the application of this fertilizer. Matters relating to export and storage contribute to the creation of a first-class problem in the industry, and the bill will not overcome many of the difficulties. It ia true, as the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) stated, that certain acquisitions have been made under regulations. As they have now been in operation for nearly six months, the Treasurer should take the opportunity to explain at this stage the manner in which they have been administered, and what has been done with the money that has been collected by the Dairy

Produce Board from the sale of dairy produce on the local market.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.

Bill - by leave - read a third time.

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