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Thursday, 16 June 1904

Mr WATSON - The Minister of Tradeand Customs has been engaged for somelittle time past in an inquiry into the whole of the conditions under which perishableproduce is. now shipped abroad. Thaquestion arose incidentally in connexion withthe consideration of the mail contracts, which is a matter under the control of thePostmasterGeneral, but in connexion with which were a number of particulars, upon which we desired information which it was impossible for him to get, and, therefore, at his instance and mine, the Minister of Trade and Customs is inquiring into thewhole matter. It will be recognised by ali" that the facilities for the export of perishable produce have increased very materially lately as compared with the position whenthe last mail contracts were entered into, and the Minister is endeavouring to ascertain how far it may be necessary to incorporate in the new contract something in thenature of a trade subsidy, as well as a mail subsidy. I shall ask him to give attention" to the matter mentioned by the honorablemember for Moira. It is an extraordinary state of affairs if, as is alleged, Brisbaneshippers can get their butter carried for Jd. per. lb. while Melbourne shippers have topay fd. per lb. I may add that noarrangement as to subsidy will be come tountil the matter has been submitted to theHouse.

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