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Wednesday, 29 August 1906

Mr KELLY (Wentworth) . - I wish to obtain some information from the Minister. I would point out, in the first place, that if bounties are granted to the full extent of £75,000 per annum, the total sum proposed to be appropriated will be exhausted in seven years. But the number of articles which are specified in the schedule are not being produced to anyappreciable extent, and a considerable period must elapse before they can be produced in any quantity. I refer to such commodities as rubber, kapok, &c.

Sir William Lyne - The discussion upon that point took place under a misconception. For a considerable time the bonus will be paid to develop the rubber industry by making use of the product of the rubber trees which are already planted.

Mr KELLY - If the Minister can show that there is a sufficient number of trees planted-

Sir William Lyne - There are forests of them.


Sir William Lyne - In Northern Queensland.

Mr KELLY - I did not know that the rubber tree was indigenous to Northern Queensland. If the Minister can assure me that it is, he will overcome the difficulty which has presented itself to my mind. I should like to ascertain from the honorable gentleman what period must elapse before we can obtain a crop in the case of many of the commodities which are enumerated in the schedule to the Bill.

Sir William Lyne - I can give the fullest information when we reach the schedule.

Mr KELLY - But the information should be forthcoming now. The Minister's amendment will have the effect of limiting the expenditure by way of bounties in any one year to £75,000, and if the commodities specified in the schedule cannot be produced in sufficient quantity, he may be prevented from spending that amount.

Sir William Lyne - That is very likely to occur.

Mr KELLY - I am glad that the Minister appreciates the difficulty-

Sir William Lyne - There is no difficulty whatever.

Mr KELLY - I think that there" is. The Minister would then regret his anxiety to obtain as much money as he can lay hands, upon. Upon the other hand, if he merely asks for what he will require, he will be in a position - should he be called upon at a later stage to request a further bounty contribution for other industries - to say, " I have not exceeded my allowance in reference to the production of tropical commodities." I hope that the Minister will give the information which I seek, otherwise I shall be reluctantly compelled-

Sir William Lyne - Do not threaten.

Mr KELLY - I have no desire to do so. I hope that the Minister will impart the information for which I have asked. I wish him to tell me the quantity of the commodities enumerated in the schedule which is at present being produced, and the time which must elapse before new plants will yield a crop.

Sir William Lyne - It is impossible for me to give that information. I would willingly give it if I wete able to do so.

Mr KELLY - The Minister should be in a position to give us reasonable information. If he cannot do so, it is about time that we referred this Bill to a Select Committee.

Sir William Lyne - A Select Committee could not furnish the information which the honorable member desires.

Mr KELLY - A Select Committee would be able to ascertain the quantity of these commodities, which is at present being produced and how long a period must elapse before new plants would begin to yield crops.

Mr Deakin - That information is embodied in the printed paper which, is before the honorable member.

Mr KELLY - It is not. If the Government cannot supply me with the data for which I asik, it is about time that a Select Committee was appointed to obtain the information.

Sir William Lyne - Do not keep threatening. Let the honorable member move to refer the Bill to a Select Committee.

Mr KELLY - I have no desire to' augment the number of Select Committees which have been appointed from time to time, but the Government cannot give me the information which I seek, and I think that they ought to appoint a Select Committee to obtain it.

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