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Thursday, 3 April 1941

Senator BROWN (Queensland) . - I support what was said by Senator Courtice. Subsidies are often unsatisfactory, but the bounty provided in the Raw Cotton Bounty Act, and in this bill, will assist the development of the cottongrowing industry at a time when other primary industries are languishing owing to an absence of markets. The cotton-growing industry in Australia, fortunately, is not dependent on overseas sales, and it is therefore capable of great expansion. Admittedly the development of the cotton-growing industry runs contrary to the ideals of many Country party parliamentarians, because it is a trend towards self-sufficiency. The Labour party is not scared of self-sufficiency. It believes that Australia's requirements of cotton should be grown in Australia. In 1940 Australia's cotton-spinners required 60,000 bales of raw cotton lint, an increase of 100 per cent, on their requirements for 1939, and the estimated requirements for 1941 total 100,000 bales. During the year ended the 30th June, 1940, Australia produced 5,661 bales of raw cotton lint, and the seed cotton received at ginneries totalled 8,605,496 lb., from which 2,819,467 lb. of lint was ginned. Even to the extent of providing money free of interest for ten years the Queensland Government has encouraged cotton farmers to develop their industry. In 1940-41, 1,185 applications for advances were made by settlers, compared with 788 in 1939-40. The Government's developmental programme includes the conservation of water for irrigation in the cotton-growing areas of the Callide and Dawson valleys. There is room for greater co-operation between the Queensland Government and the Commonwealth Government in the development of the cotton-growing industry. A necessary step is the provision by the Commonwealth Government of a guaranteed price in order that the growers shall not be dependent each year On a bounty. That is something for the future; meanwhile, the bounty provides a very necessary encouragement to the growers to continue in production, and I am pleased that the Government has decided to assist an industry the value of which to Australia will be as great in peace-time as it is now.

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