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Wednesday, 26 September 1973
Page: 1590

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Is it a bulky document?

Mr GILES - No. It is a small table.

Mr SPEAKER - Leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -


Mr GILES - To come to the point of this meeting held in Berri quite recently I will refer to 4 motions, the debate on which took up most of the evening. The first motion was moved by Mr Borroughs and seconded by Mr Jones. The gist of that motion is a request to the Minister for Primary Industry, Senator Wriedt, for assistance in regard to the 1971-72 fruit crop payment without further delay. The assistance referred to in that motion relates to a series of statements which have been made. I will mention one of them because I do not have sufficient time to mention them all. The Prime Minister announced during the first week of September, when revaluing the Australian dollar a further 5 per cent, that any industry adversely affected should apply for consideration of their position. All the revaluations of the Australian currency in recent times have affected this industry. Indeed, to be quite fair, no set answer has been given by any government, going back through a period of time including the year 1971-72. Perhaps no more than 95 per cent of the fault lies with the former Government. I just mention that in passing. That first motion moved at that meeting was based on statements that canneries would be helped and that the canning fruit growers would be assisted with compensation for the effects of revaluation. So far there has been no answer to a series of letters requesting the fruit payment without further delay.

The second motion moved at that meeting was put by one of the older Greek growers in that area, a very respected man called Mr Spanos. He moved: . . that unless a satisfactory answer is received from the Minister shortly, this public meeting directs the South Australian Canned Fruits Industry Advisory Committte to arrange a deputation to meet the Minister for Primary Industry, Senator Wriedt, to discuss fully with him the need for urgent financial adjustment.

This was necessary because there was no representative of the Federal Government at that meeting. One would have thought that a member of the other place and a member from the State government could have spared one evening to drive to Berri and be present at that meeting, but unfortunately that was not the case. The Premier of South Australia sent a personal representative to the meeting. It was announced that a Mr Chatterton of the Upper House was to be present, but he must have got lost on the way because he never turned up.

The third resolution which was moved by a friend of mine, a Mr Krix, stated:

This meeting supports the idea that the canning fruit industry should organise a proper stabilisation plan, based on a cost of production, financed by the Reserve Bank and promoted by grower organisations and put the plan to the Government.

I hope the Government will accept this proposition that has come from this sorely tried industry. May I say that a government of the same political colour as this Government has been very sympathetic to plans such as this in the past. The fourth motion was moved by a Mr Deakin. It read:

This meeting requests the State Government of South Australia to support the moves made tonight to the Federal Government.

That motion was moved despite the fact that, with several weeks notice, the Federal Government did not have a representative at that meeting.

They are the motions which were put to that meeting that night. I would like the Government to know that I will personally help it in any way I can to come to grips with this problem in order to try to help the growers in those areas. I think it is only fair that I complete my remarks tonight by saying that this is not the first occasion on which this Government has failed to send representatives to important meetings of primary producers. Some of those meetings have concerned mineral producers and some, as in this case, concerned soft fruit producers. I remind the House that the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn) travelled the other day to Kalgoorlie to attend a big meeting there. Once again there was no Government senator representing Western Australia in attendance at that meeting. There was no representative at all to hear the people at that meeting. If this is the way the present Government is going to behave in respect of meetings involving over 500 and 600 people it presents a sorry situation for the people who voted it into this place. I want to voice my disappointment to the Government because I know that there are decent people who do not like to see this sort of thing occur.

In this case there has been a breakdown between the members of the House of Representatives in Canberra and the people.

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