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Thursday, 3 April 1941

Senator AYLETT (Tasmania) . - I support the bill and shall try to enlighten the honorable senator who has said that he knows nothing about the measure, or the urgent necessity for it. I wish, first, to pay a tribute to the great interest which the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Frost) showed in this measure in the. House of Representatives. I. believe that he was principally responsible for persuading the Government to make money available by way of loan for the assistance of the berrygrowers and other fruit-growers. These people suffered severe hardships through the adverse weather conditions of Tasmania during this season. This has been acknowledged by the Government of Tasmania as well as by the Commonwealth Government, for, while the Commonwealth Government is making available a sum of £20,000, the Government of Tasmania is providing £10,000 to assist these people. The berry-growers make their living on small holdings, in rough country not suitable for other occupations, and if their crop fails they, at once, find themselves in great distress. The adverse weather conditions of the last growing season ruined their crops.

Senator Cameron - Adverse weather conditions also ruined many applegrowers in Victoria, but they will not receive a loan from the Government.

Senator AYLETT - Numerous applegrowers in Tasmania also suffered severely. Unless the Government comes to the assistance of the berry-growers they will not be able to maintain their operations. Honorable senators will recollect that the wheat-growers of Victoria were granted considerable assistance last year, and no one squealed about it. Myonly complaint about this measure is that insufficient assistance is being provided.

The Government and the people of Tasmania are grateful for the loan of £20,000, although they would have preferred a grant of that amount. However, knowing how badly the fruit-growers need assistance, the State government will gladly accept the money on loan. I strongly approve of the bill, my only regret being that the amount is not greater and that it is not to be advanced by way of grant instead of loan.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In committee:

Clause 1 (Short title).

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