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Tuesday, 5 May 1936

Senator FOLL (Queensland) .- In listening to Senator Johnston one might imagine that there was a vendetta on the part of the Government against Australian primary producers, hut I have a clear recollection of bills having been passed by this chamber recently with the deliberate object of assisting those engaged in rural production. Provision has been made f or a reduction of the primage duty on agricultural implements and on plant used for irrigation purposes. I also recall a measure exempting from sales tax practically every implement used by primary producers. This is as it should be. The passage of these and 'other measures demonstrated the Government's interest in rural workers. The figures quoted by the Postmaster-General (Senator A. J. McLachlan) show that the prices paid for agricultural implements by Australian farmers compare more than favorably with those charged in other dominions. I understand that the primary producers in New Zealand depend almost entirely upon importations for their requirements. The board in its report of the 5th December, 1934, stated -

After making allowance for all circumstances that might affect the comparison, the board has arrived at the conclusion that at the present time the Australian farmers are obtaining their requirements of harvesting implements at prices which are lower than those paid by the farmers in New Zealand.

Consequently, as the result of the Government's policy, the users of agricultural implements in this country secure the bulk of their implements at fair and reasonable prices. In view - of the statement of the Postmaster-General concerning our adverse trade balance freer importation of implements from the countries lie mentioned should not be supported.

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