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Thursday, 2 December 1971
Page: 4090

Mr TURNBULL - I want to pay a compliment to the Australian Dried Fruits Association and all those people who are dedicated to getting the best possible deal for the dried fruits industry. They have come to Canberra on many occasions over the years and consulted the Minister for Primary Industry and other Ministers also on this subject. I believe they have done a very good job for the industry.

I would like to recite some of the history of Sunraysia and Robinvale, the 2 places where most of the vine fruits are grown in Australia. The Chaffey brothers came to Mildura from the United States of America and started an irrigation scheme. They were greatly assisted by Mr Alfred Deakin who had great faith in irrigation. Soldiers who returned from the 1914-18 war went to the area and helped to deve lop it and settled in Sunraysia which became the most successful soldier settlement primary industry scheme in Australia. Much the same thing happened after the Second World War when there were plantings at Robinvale which is now a thriving vine fruit centre.

Not much more can be said about this Bill. The Opposition favours it. I am delighted with it. The Government saw fit to bring it forward and I hope it has a swift passage through the House and that the dried vine fruit growers will get great benefit from it.

This industry has been hit probably harder than any other industry and it should be assisted at every opportunity. On 9th February next I will have represented that area for 26 years and I realise the need for the best possible legislation to assist it. On one occasion after heavy rain had done a lot of damage the Government granted £300,000 to the industry which helped it a lot at that time. That does not seem to be a lot of money now but that was a good few years ago; from memory it was about 1956. The industry requires a lot of work. In the main, the blocks are from 16 acres to 24 acres. There are some larger blocks but they are not big assets such as the wheat and wool farms were in the past. I support the Bill and hope that by it the dried fruit growers will gain a new prosperity which is urgently needed in their industry.

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