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Wednesday, 1 September 1993
Page: 824

Senator WATSON (7.21 p.m.) —As a Tasmanian, I feel it is my duty to rise and speak against the foreshadowed amendment by Senator Bell of the Australian Democrats. I think it is important to scotch this issue at a very early stage. I notice that my colleague Senator Calvert will be joining me in just a few moments. In fact, it is so important that I will confine my remarks to no more than two minutes to ensure that the proposed amendment is defeated tonight.

  The Australian Democrats have done enough damage to the orchard industry in Tasmania without adding salt to the wound with this wide-ranging amendment. I think they should hang their heads in shame. Surely these orchardists have had retribution enough. As such, Mrs Kelly, the Democrats and others have a very heavy cross to bear in terms of the damage that they have done to orchardists in the Huon River region as a result of the closure of that lime quarry at Lune River. What this decision has meant to the orchardists is that a considerable cost will be added to producing apples, which will have to be recovered in the export price of the fruit.

  Lime is an essential ingredient for the propagation of the fruit. It is not a question of opening any quarry for any lime. The quality and the chemical composition are important factors. As a result of this, trucks will have to come down from the north and north west coast on a daily basis to service the needs of these orchardists—more trucks on the highway and higher production costs which, as I said, must be recovered in the export price of the fruit. I foreshadow my opposition to Senator Bell's foreshadowed amendment.