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Thursday, 24 September 1942
Page: 902

Mr MARWICK - I do not dispute that, but the price of wheat has been low all over the world. The governments of other countries have, however, endeavoured to subsidize prices. The following comparative table shows the reduction of wheat acreage of the four main producing countries: -

The shortage of superphosphate in Australia will cause a further reduction of acreage, and I hope that in the negotiations which take place on the subject of reduction of acreage our representatives will keep to the forefront the fact that we have curtailed production to a greater degree than any other country has, so that, when normal supplies of superphosphate again become available, we shall be able to receive recognition for having led the way, for this agreement must last for very many years.

In reply to an interjection by the Minister for War Organization of Industry, the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) expressed the belief that food would have to be rationed.. I sincerely hope that that is not the case, but I am afraid that, unless quick action be taken, the right honorable gentleman will be right. But the right honorable gentleman also said that it was necessary for us to build up reserves of food in Australia, and to supply as much food as we possibly can to Great Britain.

Mr Dedman - That is being done.

Mr MARWICK - Those two requirements formed the basis of the right honorable member's statement that food would have to be rationed. I notice that on the estimates for the Department of Commerce there is provision for the expenditure of £900,000 for food storage. I hope that that work is progressing satisfactorily.

We do not yet know a great deal about the dehydration of mutton, but we do know that the net result from dehydration is18 per cent. of each carcass processed. Therefore, if 2d. per lb. is paid for mutton, the price per lb. of dehydrated mutton is1s., exclusive of the cost of processing.

Mr Scully - The ratio is approximately 7 to 1.

Mr MARWICK - About 17 or 18 per cent. is the final result. The concentration of mutton is an admirable method of shipping it overseas. I do not know what the lasting qualities of dehydrated mutton are, but I do know that the product is quite palatable. Now that the lamb season is coming in I appeal to the Minister for Commerce to look into the slaughtering position. There is the shortage of slaughtermen in the capital cities, and I fear a glut of spring lamb and cull ewes when they come on the market.

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