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Friday, 30 October 1970

Mr WHITLAM - I ask the Prime Minister a question. The right honourable gentleman will recall that last week the honourable member for Dawson addressed a question to the Minister for Trade and Industry regarding the impending destruction of huge quantities of sugar cane in Queensland in spite of the Commonwealth negotiated International Sugar Agreement under which some or even all of the sugar this year could have been stored. He will remember the reply that this sugar destruction was totally the responsibility of the Queensland Government. As this large scale destruction of sugar cane is now about to commence in areas which cannot stand over cane, and as the economic future of farmers in the sugar industry depends predominantly not on Federal legislation and arrangements which the Federal Government makes with Queensland but also on treaties it makes with Commonwealth countries and other countries, I ask: Do the Prime Minister and his Government endorse or deplore the needless destruction of huge quantities of food in Australia, particularly in view of the international criticism of this nation which is certain to result from so nationally irresponsible a decision?

Mr Gorton - The Minister for Trade and Industry will answer the question.

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