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Friday, 3 August 1906

Mr RONALD (Southern Melbourne) . - This Bill has the hearty support of all sections of the House - a fact which augurs well for the development of the great natural resources of Australia. The system of assisting new industries by means of bounties may almost be said to be the freetrader's phase of protection. I have the conviction that the bounty system mav be very well associated with protection. To-day the honorable member for Gippsland emphasized the necessity which exists for instructing our people in all branches of agriculture, with a view to developing cnr resources. Really there is no subject to which a Government can devote its energies with more profit than that of teaching our agriculturists how to develop the resources of the land upon which they live.

I have always advocated that they should be given a proper academic training in agricultural chemistry - that the young farmer should be taught, not only what seed and products he can grow to the best advantage, but what particular commodities his soil is best capable of producing. I am very glad, indeed, that the measure is receiving hearty support from all sections of the House. There is just one phase that we ought to bear carefully in mind. We ought to prevent these bounties from' being exploited upon behalf of the promoters of any industry. To this end I think that a clause should be inserted in the Bill which will have the effect of prohibiting any individual from participating in the bounty, if. so soon as it is withdrawn, he intends to allow the industry in which he is engaged to perish. Unfortunately that has been the disastrous consequence of the bounty system hitherto. The adoption of mv suggestion would insure that the industry, and not the individual, would receive the full measure of the bounty. When we have done that, we shall have accomplished all that we can for the country in this direction. The evil which is usually associated with fostered industries is that their managers grow careless regarding the quality of their product. This Bill represents a new phase of protection, and if it should prove successful, it will go a long way towards making Australia one of the foremost producing countries of all the necessaries of life. With regard to the fishing industry, I hold that the Commonwealth probably possesses fish of as fine a quality - and quite as large in quantity - as does an v country in the world. I cordially indorse the proposal to encourage this industry by the payment, of a bounty, especially as it is to be 'paid upon results.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee :

Clause r agreed to.

Clause 2 -

There shrii' be payable out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which is hereby appropriated accordingly, the sum of Fifty thousand pounds per annum during the period of ten years commencing on the first day of July, One thousand nine hundred and six, for the payment of bounties on the production of the goods specified in the schedule.

Mr. DUGALDTHOMSON (North c;,.ciP..\ ["4.12]. - I understood that the Minister intended to submit an amendment to this clause. If the sum of £50,000 annually is to be expended by the Min'ister - assuming that some of the articles enumerated in the schedule of the Bill are not produced in the earlier> years of its operation - it can. only be expended by an increase of the bounties payable upon others. I do not think that he has any intention of that kind.

Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -

That the word "Fifty" be left out, with a view .to insert in lieu thereof the words " Five hundred," and that the words " per annum " be left out. 0

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