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Tuesday, 16 August 1960

Mr McEWEN - The honorable member has made representations in this matter, as indeed have some other honorable members. When a member of Parliament or representatives of an industry make representations that serious damage may occur as a result of sudden importations, investigations are initiated. That has been done in this instance. I do not regard these investigations as having been concluded, but at present they indicate that imports from both New Zealand and the United States of America are intended to make up for a short-fall in Australian production of peas for packaging mainly in semi-bulk form and in individual packages. As yet, frozen peas have not been imported in large quantities, whereas, on the other hand, consumption of this product in Australia has risen very sharply indeed. It amounted to about 4,000 tons in 1957-58, 4,500 tons the next year, and 8,000 tons last year, and the indications at present are that the ensuing year may show a consumption of 10,000 or 11,000 tons of frozen peas. My information - and I say that it is not final - is that in all cases those who are importing indicate that they do not intend to make further imports once adequate local supplies are available. Contracts with local growers are being made in respect of greater acreages and at higher prices than prevailed last year.

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