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Tuesday, 15 May 1928

Mr YATES (Adelaide) .- By this proposal the Government has repudiated its agreement with the winegrowers; but that aspect of the matter has been clearly explained by the Leader of the Opposition. I rose particularly to reply to the speech of the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Foster). He is a good advocate of a cause in which he believes, but he puts so much vehemence into his advocacy of any matter he takes up, that whether he believes in it or not, he can make it appear a good cause. The honorable member drew attention to the posi - tion of the returned soldier vine-growers on the river Murray, and spoke of what the reduction in the bounty would mean to them. I am aware that exsoldiers were settled on the Murray so they could be established in a thriving industry that would both benefit the country and give quick returns to the settlers. I am heartily in accord with that scheme, and trust that the benefits hoped for will be realized. But the honorable member's attitude, coming immediately after the refusal of honorable members opposite to grant an appeal board for returned soldiers suffering from war disabilities, appeared to me to constitute a volte face on his part. The attitude assumed by the Opposition on the motion to which I have referred was that ex-soldiers should be rewarded for their sacrifices by at least being allowed to appeal to a board if they thought that they had not received sufficient compensation for their war injuries. The honorable member for Wakefield was silent on that motion; but he played the returned soldiers as his long suit in connexion with the present bill. Although, perhaps, no honorable member is better acquainted with South Australia than he is, I doubt if he could name one wineproducing establishment on the river Murray. In my opinion the wine bounty, from its inception, has been entirely in the nature of a boost for "big business." Incidentally, the grape-grower has received benefits, and I agree that he should be supported in that way; but let me tell the committee where the vignerons of South Australia carry on their industry. I remind the honorable member for Wakefield that their vines are grown hundreds of miles from the Murray valley.

Mr Foster - But one of the biggest distilleries in the world is to be found on the Murray.

Mr YATES - Much of the fruit that is used in that distillery should be dried, and bounty should be paid on it as dried fruit ; but, instead of that, large quantities of grapes go to a distillery from which the Commonwealth draws heavy excise revenue.

Mr Foster - But it is purely an exsoldiers' industry.

Mr YATES - The wine bounty does not benefit the distillery at Berri. I should not have taken exception to the honorable member's plea in the interests of " big business," in the form of wine making in South Australia, if he had not tacked on to it a claim on behalf of returned soldiers. Last week honorable members opposite refused to grant even a board to which returned soldiers might appeal, should they think they had been unfairly dealt with by the Repatriation Department. Not one honorable member opposite was prepared to give ex-soldiers an opportunity even to appeal to a board to decide whether they were entitled to pensions, or whether the pensions that they had were adequate. But when the subject of the continuance of the bounty to vine-growers is raised, a plea is advanced in favour of it on the ground that it will benefit ex-soldier settlers.

Mr Foster - Their representatives will be here to-morrow to speak for them- selves.

Mr YATES - I doubt whether they will speak for the wine producing industry on the Murray. Let the honorable member face the facts. Although he cannot name one big winery on the river Murray, he is familiar with the Auldana vineyards at Magill, on the foothills of Adelaide. Cleland and Sons' vineyards are at Beaumont, adjacent to Magill, and, like Auldana, they are hundreds of miles from the Murray valley, where the bulk of the ex-soldier grape-growers are settled. Cramp and Company carry on their wine-making business at Rowland's Flat. Hamilton's are at Marion, near the coast south of Adelaide, and Marion is many miles from the Murray. Hardy and Sons have been in the wine business ever since I have known South Australia. Their vineyards are at Aldinga, on the southern coast of that State. Penfold's are at Magill, on the Adelaide foothills. The Reynella vineyards are located further south than Marion, and are nearer to the mouth of the Murray than to the Murray valley fruit-growing areas. Seppelts' are at Seppeltsfield, outside Greenock, many miles from the Murray. Adjacent to their vineyards are those of Smith and Sons, of Angaston. The Tarrangarra Wine Company operates at O'Halloran Hill, in the Mount Lofty Ranges. In addition to the distillery at Berri, there is a wine-making establishment at Lyrup; but the honorable member for Wakefield would admit that it is not a large concern.

Mr Parsons - Has the honorable member heard of Waikerie?

Mr YATES - Yes; but the winemaking industry on the Murray cannot be compared with the industry carried on by the old established firms whose names I have mentioned, and whose brands of wines are well known throughout Australia. The establishments at Lyrup and Waikerie are new, having come into operation since the war, Not one-tenth of the grapes grown in South Australia and turned into wine come from the Murray valley.

Mr Foster - The honorable member will hear about this matter.

Mr YATES - I quite expect that; but I hope that the honorable member will quote the areas under vines. The honorable member knows well that Chateau Tanunda is located at Nuriootpa, between Angaston and Greenock. That vineyard is of from 25 to 30 years' standing. Salter and Sons are also engaged in grape production in the Angaston district ; and Buring and Sobels, whose property is at Watervale, in the hill country approaching the lower north of South Australia, are also big producers. I may also mention the Pewsey Vale property, established by the late Sir William Gilbert, which is in the vicinity of Williamstown, where grapes are extensively grown. I have mentioned the principal, grape producers of South Australia, and have shown the true position of that State in the matter of wine production. It is evident that the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Parsons) is speaking solely in the interests of the big wine producers in opposing a reduction of the bounty. I am satisfied that the honorable member is merely supporting the claims of those engaged in the wine business in a big way. Whilst returned soldier growers may get something to succor them for the time being, I am satisfied that four-fifths of the bounty paid goes to old-established growers, some of whom have already amassed fortunes.

Mr Cook -That is absolutely untrue.

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