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Friday, 2 December 1938

Mr NOCK (Riverina) .- The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) suggested that this money would be paid year in and year out, but I remind him that in the House we carried an amendment limiting the operation of the whole clause to a maximum period of five years. The principle of including the clause in the bill was objected to by many farmers and the Country party, but when it was a matter of compromise, because of the insistence of the States, it was necessary to concede the point to secure the scheme. This year £500,000 and for four more years an amount up to £500,000 will be allocated for specific purposes. I realize the position of Queensland, and, as the Leader of the Opposi tion (Mr. Curtin) has pointed out, there may be justification for consideration of. its special circumstances. The honorable gentleman said that the position which might arise should be insured against by the farmers'. One may insure against fire and hail, but one cannot insure against drought or red rust. It is possible that from time to time, drought and red rust may wreck and ruin the Queensland crops, as drought his ruined them in other States this year, and they are the two most serious troubles which Queensland farmers contend against. Neither can be controlled or insured against. This amendment will not alter the aggregate amount which will be made available from the fund, but possibly may alter the direction of part of the allocation, and although, as I said, right from the start we disapproved of the principle because the fight was for a home-consumption price, we are satisfied that, after five years the clause automatically disappears, and there will be a home-consumption price on exactly the same basis as a compulsory pool, the butter scheme, or the rice pool. Therefore, I am supporting the amendment.

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