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Friday, 21 September 1928

Mr BRUCE (Flinders) (Prime Minister - Minister for Trade and Customs) (6:59 AM) . - I am aware of the interest displayed by the honorable members for Indi (Mr. Cook) and New England (Mr. Thompson) in the tobacco industry. Some time ago I received a deputation from the tobacco-growers, and recently a conference was held in Melbourne. The Government is carrying out an investigation to determine whether it is possible for us to supply our own tobacco requirements, and thus retain in Australia the money now paid for imported tobacco. There appears to have been some slight misunderstanding between the tobacco growers and the committee controlling these investigations. If any misunderstanding still exists, I am desirous that it should be dispelled, because the Government is quite convinced that the steps that have been taken are in the best interests of the growers and of the industry as a whole. I suggest to the honorable member that if, as a result of a statement that was made some two or three weeks ago in regard to tobacco investigations, the growers are still feeling any anxiety, he should get into touch with my right honorable colleague, Senator Sir George Pearce, who has been closely associated with this matter, and I am quite sure that if there is misunderstanding it can be readily cleared up. Regarding the actual work that is being done by the investigation committee, a full statement was made during the last few weeks and I think that that will serve the purpose that the honorable member indicated when he suggested that I should make a further statement.

Proposed vote agreed to.

Refunds of Revenue.

Proposed vote, £800,000, agreed to.

Advance to the Treasurer.

Proposed vote, £1,500,000, agreed to.

War Services Payable out of Revenue.

Proposed vote, £1,221,310, agreed to.

Commonwealth Railways.

Proposed vote, £636,015.

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