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Tuesday, 11 December 1973
Page: 2637

Senator MAUNSELL (Queensland) - The Australian Country Party also will support this Bill if it can obtain assurances from the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Senator Willesee) who represents the Treasurer (Mr Crean) in the Senate, that the $Sm will be spent. The situation is that the $5m is aimed at providing currency revaluation compensation. Of course, this applies only to export fruit. It does not apply, as the name of the Bill suggests, to the withdrawal of sales tax on fruit juices sold within Australia. If any funds are left from this $5m after the payment of revaluation compensations to the fruit growers, we would hope that they would be spent on promotion, research or in some other way to assist the fruit juice industry in Australia. Of course, the allocation of this $5m to provide assistance was to offset the removal of the exemption foreshadowed in the Budget. It is not really something new. While we may agree with the arguments advanced by the Minister in regard to revaluation of the Australian dollar, the fact that the United States dollar has recovered to a certain extent has meant that in Great Britain, which is the main market for this industry, there has been a currency revaluation of about 3 to 4 per cent, so there is justification for money to be spent on currency revaluation compensation.

While we are still not completely satisfied with the assistance that has been given to the apple industry in particular, like the members of the Liberal Party we will approve of the Bill provided that the Government can give us assurances. The industry would like to know, as we would, what its future will be, particularly with regard to reconstruction. If the funds available in this measure are inadequate for the compensation, reconstruction could take over. Every industry wants to know whether it can continue as a viable industry or whether it has to go to the wall and be reconstructed. Can the growers have an assurance that they will be able to enter some other form of production? We would like these assurances from the Minister before we really commit ourselves to supporting this Bill.

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