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Tuesday, 22 August 1972
Page: 301

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - On 17th August Senator Drury asked me this question:

Has the Minister's attention been drawn to reports from representatives of the deciduous fruit industry in South Australia that unless the industry is provided wilh immediate financial assistance similar to assistance already provided in mast other primary industries it faces virtual collapse? Will the Minister consider the extent to which Commonwealth financial assistance in these circumstances can be granted to the deciduous fruit industry?

The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable senators question:

On 14th July the Minister for Primary Industry announced details of the Commonwealth Government's offer to the Slates on the introduction of a tree pull compensation scheme for horticultural industries. Under the scheme the Government will provide up to S4.6m lo the States for the operation of the scheme. The scheme will initially apply mainly to canning peaches and pears and to apples and fresh pears. $2.3m will be allocated to canning fruit and S2.3m to fresh pome fruit. This offer has been accepted, in principle, by the Stales and the money will provide compensation for removal of trees to growers who are in financial difficulties because of surpluses. This assistance is in addition to that applicable under the rural reconstruction scheme.

The honourable senator will recall that last year the Commonwealth Government made available to the Slate of South Australia an amount of $ 1.29m lo assist 2 South Australian canneries to overcome problems arising from their long-term debt situation. The Government is aware of the problems stemming from production surplus to the requirements of payable markets, and the consequent effects on canners' liquidity and intake of fruit, lt is working wilh the State governments and the industry to find acceptable solutions.

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