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Tuesday, 4 October 1983
Page: 1318

Question No. 82


Mr McVeigh asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice, on 4 May 1983:

What action has the Government taken to utilise the report of the Balderstone Committee on Agriculture in Australia.


Mr Kerin —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The report 'Agricultural Policy-Issues and Options for the 1980's', prepared by the working group chaired by Sir James Balderstone canvasses the issues and choices confronting Australia's rural sector. The report was not intended to provide a package of recommendations which would require immediate or simultaneous implementation. Rather it has established a basis for the development of agricultural policy over the decade.

In March this year I discussed the report with Sir James Balderstone and, more recently, I met with the working group as a whole for further discussions.

As far as the Commonwealth is concerned, the options put forward in the report and the public discussion of individual issues in it will be fully taken into account as issues are considered on a case-by-case basis. Some have already been considered by the Government and recommendations of the working group accepted, for example on the question of overseas borrowing by the Australian Wheat Board, certain aspects of the taxation treatment of primary producers and the Income Equalisation Deposits Scheme. Attention will be given to the report's recommendations when the Government considers the reports by the Industries Assistance Commission on the Rural Adjustment Scheme and the assistance accorded wheat, sugar and dairy products.

The report is currently being studied by the Standing Committee on Agriculture which will report on it to the Australian Agricultural Council at its meeting on 1 August 1983.