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Tuesday, 3 December 1935

Senator J B HAYES (Tasmania) . - I notice that it is proposed to make a grant this year of £100,000 to the States for the benefit of and assistance to fruit-growers. The amount is £25,000 less than was provided for this purpose last year. This grant must be regarded as a permanent liability, because, only in this way can- help be given to the fresh fruits industry. Most primary producers who export their produce have to be assisted by the Commonwealth in some way. Some of them are assisted through the fixation of a home-consumption price, but that course cannot be followed in respect of fresh fruits. Producers of wheat, sugar, butter and dried fruits have been aided by making the Australian consumer pay more than the overseas buyer for these products. Growers of fresh fruits can be assisted only by direct grants. I understand that the grant this year works out to a benefit of about 5d. or 6d. a case. I hope thatthis money will be distributed in the form of a straight-out payment to all exporters of apples and pears so that all will share alike. I also point out that the Government unsuccessfully endeavoured to help this industry by securing a reduction of freights. Such assistance would have been of a permanent nature. As help cannot be given in that way, the fresh fruits industry, which, so far as Tasmania is concerned, relates principally to apples and pears, must be helped in another way. Therefore, I repeat, the Government must regard this grant as a permanent one, and I hope that in future the amount will again be £125,000 as it was last year.

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