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Tuesday, 20 November 1973
Page: 1947

Senator Townley asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

(   1 ) Are almost half the apples produced in Australia for juicing grown in Tasmania and Western Australia and, prior to the Budget, were 3 to 4 million bushels of lower quality apples used for juicing.

(2)   Is the Minister aware that as the tax exemption on nonalcoholic carbonated beverages has been removed, a great number of lower-grade apples previously used for juice will be offered for sale to the public, and this will result in the average price of apples sold on the domestic market falling by50c to $1.00 a bushel.

(3)   Is the Minister aware that there will therefore be a loss of between $4m to $ 10m to the producer as well as the direct loss suffered because of the inability to sell fruit for juice.

(4)   Will the Minister ask the Government to allow again the exemption on non-alcoholic beverages containing5 per cent of Australian fruit.

Senator Cavanagh - The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(   1 ) Recent statistics indicate that this would be generally correct.

(2)   , (3) and (4) The possible effects attributed to the abolition of the exemption in sections 2 and 3 of the honourable senator's question can at this stage be hypothetical only. The impact of the decision on the industry could be greatly affected by any assistance measures adopted by the Government.

In this connection, in the course of his Budget speech, the Treasurer stated that in abolishing the exemption the Government stood ready to provide such funds as may be necessary to assist with the reconstruction of any sectors of the fruitgrowing industry that may be effected.

Senator Wriedtreaffirmed the Government undertaking in an announcement made in September of Government assistance to lemon growers in New South Wales who had been adversely affected by the decision.

He has been in touch with the Australian Apple and Pear Growers' Association to suggest that it might consider taking the role of co-ordinating any industry claim for assistance arising from the decision.

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