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Wednesday, 1 October 1958


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lawrence (WIMMERA, VICTORIA) - Order! There are too many interjections. .


Mr POLLARD - We are all in agreement, Mr. Deputy Speaker. We are going along very well. The minority report recommended a price of 2s. per lb. Let us analyse the facts. First of all, the four people who were associated with government departments had no personal vested interest in the industry whatsoever. Mr. Howey, Mr. Plunkett, Mr. Sheehy and Mr. Norton had a personal interest, if not a vested interest, in the industry, and, no doubt, felt that they could go for the higher figure. The government accepted the recommendation of 2s. per lb. and the industry was mighty happy about it. Mr. Howey, who was president of the Victorian Dairymen's Association and chairman of the Australian Dairy Produce Board, notwithstanding the fact that he had recommended a price of 2s. Hd., said this when the new price was put into operation -

I have never seen the dairying industry with a brighter future.

That statement was reported in the "Victorian Dairy Farmer" of November, 1947. Mr. R. C. Gibson, president of the New South Wales Primary Producers Union, in 1948. when the plan was operating, said -

Dairy farmers can now look ahead and plan for the future, secure in the knowledge that their returns will be related to their production costs.

In. other words, everybody was happy. I could quote numerous statements and refer to numerous letters in glowing terms which I received at that period expressing great satisfaction with that great scheme which has set the standard ever since. But the scheme has been shamefully departed from since 1952. At this critical stage in the industry's history the Government is proposing to increase the interim payment by 3d. The honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate) is interjecting that the dairy-farmers will get this increase in any event. Apparently this bill has been introduced as a sop to provide for research and sales propaganda. The Opposition favours this move, but the Government is only playing with the problems confronting the industry. Under existing circumstances the more the farmers produce, the greater will be their losses. The more they export, the lower will be their returns. Sales promotion should bring some assistance to the industry. If a vigorous campaign, handled by the right people, increased the consumption of butter in Australia by 2 lb., 3 lb., or 4 lb. per head, the problem would be largely solved1. I concede that. That is something in which I believe. If it pays to advertise all sorts of quack medicines on the radio and on television, it should pay the dairying industry to advertise butter. The Government is amply justified in supporting such sales propaganda.

The situation confronting the dairying industry to-day would not have been as bad as it is if the cost of living had not been spiralling over the last ten years, as has been emphasized in the last few years by the unemployment position. To some degree the problem can be alleviated by increasing the purchasing power of the people and by encouraging the sale of butter instead of margarine and other products.

The Opposition supports the bill. I express the ardent hope that, to the extent that it is possible to help the industry at present, the proposals that have been outlined by the Minister will be successful.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Jeff Bate) adjourned.







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