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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr PROWSE (Forrest) (4:56 AM) .So far as I am aware, a great deal of objection can be taken to this proposal. I do not know where the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) got the idea that the Opposition, as a whole, would support the bill. In my opinion, the excise upon rabbit skins will defeat the purpose for which the Government imposed it. The .States have enacted legislation that compels land-owners to eradicate rabbits upon their properties. The acute shortage of man-power has necessitated an increase of price in order to justify the arduous and filthy work of trapping and skinning. The poison cart is the usual method that is adopted to get rid of rabbits, but that practice destroys not only the rodent but also the skin. Trapping is a much slower and more arduous method, whilst skinning is really a filthy work. Unless the inducement to trap rabbits be substantially increased, the Government's requirements will not be obtained. Vigorous action by land-owners has wrought havoc among the rabbits.

Mr Chifley - The price for skins is 300 per cent, higher than the pre-war level.

Mr PROWSE - And the skins are now 300 per cent, more difficult to obtain than they were before the war. The high price reflects that difficulty. Whilst rabbits do not spring up like mushrooms, their number increases far too rapidly for the good of the country. In future, I shall poison rabbits on my property in order to get rid of them.

Mr Chifley - Last week in the Sydney market, the price payable for the best grades of skins was 123d., even though the skins had not reached top winter quality, and an export levy of 9d. per lb. operated.

Mr PROWSE - Land-owners experience great difficulty in obtaining men to eradicate the pest. My efforts have returned to me not a farthing profit. I have already submitted to the Minister for Commerce (Mr. Scully) a communication from Western Australia pointing out that the Government's proposals will discourage people from trapping rabbits.

Question- resolved in the affirmative.

Resolution reported.

Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.

Ordered -

That Mr. Chifley ami Mr. Dedman do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.

Bill presented by Mr. Chifley and passed through all stages without amendment or debate.

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