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Wednesday, 21 August 1985
Page: 109

Senator ARCHER(5.09) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the paper.

This paper refers to the tenth report of the Australian Apple and Pear Corporation. I believe that the Australian Apple and Pear Corporation deserves credit for the stability it has been able to introduce to a market which, before the Corporation took control and got the growers working together, was in great difficulty. I think it is worthwhile looking at just two or three of the Corporation's functions. They are to promote and control export, to promote trade and commence, to improve production and to encourage consumption. The Corporation does its job very well. It has carried out a considerable amount of work in organising producers to go into the particular varieties that are considered important and to concentrate on special markets.

The apple industry in particular is of great consequence. Apples are grown in every State of Australia, and every State has its own fruit industry. It is interesting to note that what at one stage used to be referred to as the Apple Isle now rates only third in apple production. Production in New South Wales with large plantings in recent years has risen from a total of 3,355,000 boxes to 4,500,000 boxes between 1981 and 1985, while at the same time production in Tasmania has declined from 4.1 million to 3.6 million boxes. Pears do not comprise as large a crop, but they require different forms of merchandising.

The Corporation has done a lot by the way of promotion on a national basis. It has carried out this task by advertising, by providing a good deal of point-of-sale material, by organising school programs and public relations exercises and by issuing press releases and so on. The industry has gone a long way towards stabilising theposition, providing what the local market requires, and seeking to gain particular markets for particular fruit. This has involved the Singapore market, and efforts are being made to gain access to Japan, Indonesia and Taiwan, where prospects look quite good. The Corporation has done a lot of work in the area of transport in view of the fact that the cost of shipping apples is high. The Corporation did a lot of work involving persistent dealings with shipping conferences to achieve satisfactory freight rates which, in the main, enabled existing rates to be held, or in some cases actually reduced. I commend the Corporation and hope that it will be even more successful in the future.

Question resolved in the affirmative.