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Thursday, 2 December 1976

Mr SINCLAIR (NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Primary Industry) - A number of commodities are sold in different currencies. Meat in some markets is sold in United States dollars, in some markets in Japanese yen and in other markets in Australian dollars at whatever the current exchange rate might be. The Bureau of Agricultural Economics has assessed the gross benefit for the meat industry. There will be a gain to the beef industry of $49m in the remaining 7 months of this financial year. As to sheep meat there will be a gain of $ 16m. There will be a gain of $9m for other meats. Against that, of course, there will be some offsets in relation to freight charges and, perhaps, some other inputs with regard to the handling, processing and packaging of the product. However, it is totally wrong to suggest that the prices received by Australian exporters and hence by Australian producers will not benefit as a result of the change in Australian currency values announced by the Treasurer the other night. It is true that the meat industry may not be able to increase its prices in other currencies but because of the change in relative values of the Australian dollar there will be a benefitand a significant benefit- flowing through to Australian producers and exporters who handle those exports. It is that aspect of the change in currency value that brings a very real net benefit to the hard pressed beef producers about whom the honourable gentleman is, I know, so greatly concerned.

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