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Thursday, 28 November 1974
Page: 2901

Senator SHEIL (QUEENSLAND) - The Minister for Agriculture already has received, or will receive, telegrams from the fruit industry on the problem created by the fact that technically the Fruit Industry Sugar Concession Committee no longer exists because the sugar agreement has lapsed. Is it a fact that because of this the Fruit Industry Sugar Concession Committee was unable to meet earlier this month to set minimum prices for pineapples for canning and for berry fruits, and that meetings to set minimum prices for apricots and other canning fruits have been postponed? Will the

Minister urgently consult with the Minister for Northern Development to ensure that the expired agreement is continued until it is possible for a new agreement to be announced so that the Fruit Industry Sugar Concession Committee can continue and set the now overdue minimum prices?

Senator WRIEDT (TASMANIA) (Minister for Agriculture) - The Fruit Industry Sugar Concession Committee comes, of course, under legislation concerning the sugar agreement between the State of Queensland and the Australian Government and is the responsibility of the Minister for Northern Development. It was my understanding that this matter had been resolved and I was anticipating that Dr Patterson would be making a statement on it during the past week. I am not aware of the reasons for this matter not being resolved. I will have to find that out from the Minister but I feel confident in saying that the rebate which has obtained over the years will not be lost to the fruit industry because of this delay. I am quite sure that Dr Patterson will make a statement on this matter very shortly. If there is any further information I can get for the honourable senator I will do so.

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