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Thursday, 28 November 1935

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - 1 support this measure, which has excellent qualities and is a step in the right direction. In South Australia the majority of the citrus-growers are returned soldiers whose holdings are situated along the banks of the river Murray, and they have experienced severe difficulties during the past two years. They have attempted to export oranges to . the United Kingdom. As was pointed out by Senator Hardy, at first they were guaranteed 13s. a case for the oranges, but this price actually left them in debt. The financial assistance was absorbed in freight and other charges. A bounty of 2s. a case is little enough, and despite the remarks of Senator Allan MacDonald, I think, considering that only 300,000 cases have been exported this year to the Old Country, that the least the Government should do is to grant the reasonable request made by the citrusgrowers at the conference in Sydney in April last.

Senator ALLAN MACDONALD (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - The exporters of apples receive only 5d. a case.

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - But no specific sum of money was set aside for the apple-grower.

Senator ALLAN MACDONALD (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - How can the honorable senator reconcile the two bounties?

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - - They can be reconciled to a certain extent. The export of apples to the United Kingdom has been proceeding foi a number of years and Australia has established a market there. On the other hand, the legislation now before the Senate is largely experimental. Australia is endeavouring to establish a market for oranges in the Old Country, and we must give some encouragement to our citrus-growers, who are prepared to take the risk entailed in selling their oranges on the British market, Senator Hardy has mentioned the charges involved in freights alone in shipping oranges to New Zealand or to the Old Country. The bounty is inadequate. When reference is made to the bounty of 2s. a case, many people believe that the cases containing fruit for home consumption and the export cases have the same capacity, and that the fruit is of a similar standard. But an export case has practically one and a half times the capacity of the case used in Australia. Apart from that consideration the conditions set out in the schedule as regards picking and packing must be observed. These details certainly warrant the payment of a larger bounty. Senator Hardy also alluded to transport facilities. At one time we believed that it was impossible to send chilled beef from Australia to the United Kingdom, but now the difficulties have been practically overcome. That success demonstrates what can be achieved by experimentation. I believe that similar success could be achieved in regard to oranges if we conducted experiments along the right lines. The Government itself could render valuable assistance to enable growers successfully to compete with the fruit marketed by countries much nearer to England.

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