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Thursday, 24 March 1927

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - I realize that this measure is on the lines of the Dairy Produce Export Control Act and the Dried Fruits Export Control Act. I have no objecttion to the principle upon which it is based, but there is one phase of this legislation that should not be overlooked. The local consumer may not only be supplied with the poorer grades of apples and pears, the best, as possibly is only right, being exported, but he may also find that because of this control over export the price he pays locally for his apples has been increased.

Senator J B Hayes - Would that he a pity? What about the orchardist who is working for nothing half his time?

Senator NEEDHAM - I want to give the orchardist the best price he can get.

Senator J B Hayes - The honorable senator evidently wants it both ways.

Senator NEEDHAM - I wish the honorable senator to realize that I do not want the producer to sell his produce at a starvation price, and in this connexion I am not laying any blame on him. My remarks apply, not to the producer, but to the middleman. Iblame the latter for the high price of fruit for local consumption. At present it is hard to get an apple in Melbourne except at an exorbitant price. I want it to be clearly understood that I am in favour of the principle contained in this bill, but I also wish to mention the danger of the local consumer being charged exorbitant prices for the second quality apples that are not exported. I realize that honorable senators are anxious to catch the express to Sydney, and in the circumstances I do not propose to debate at greater length the point I have raised.

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