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Wednesday, 13 May 1936

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) . - I am glad that Senator Herbert Hays raised this matter. It is the policy of this Government to eliminate as speedily and effectively as possible the pests which confront the primary producers. The implements referred to by the honorable senator are the only tools that, can be used by the nian on the land to keep his areas in decent condition. The greatest pest of the farmer in Tasmania is bracken fern. Hundreds of thousands nf acres of good land in that State is not productive to-day because of the enormous cost of clearing it. The most effective way to do this is by the use of hooks and slashers. Although this Parliament has taken steps to make productive every acre possible, it is now proposed to retard this work by imposing high duties on articles which are most needed for this work. The prices of fern hooks and slashers are at least from 75 to 80 per cent, higher than they were a few years ago. I suggest that the imposition of high duties on those tools miniraizes the efforts already taken by this Parliament to make as much land as possible productive.

Senator Collings - Does the honorable senator suggest that the clearing of land will go ahead by leaps and bounds if this duty is reduced?

Senator PAYNE - If the honorable senator is prepared to visit the north-west of Tasmania, I shall show him any amount of land which can be made very productive if the occupants are given reasonable facilities to do this work cheaply. I support the remarks made by Senator Herbert Hays, and I hope the Government will carry out his suggestion.

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