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Tuesday, 7 December 1976

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Primary Industry upon notice:

(   1 ) Does he consider that his Department has provided an adequate investigative and reporting service on the effect of the European drought on market prospects for Australian agriculture.

(2)   How was this information gained and disseminated to the farmers of Australia.

(3)   What is his attitude to the criticism of many rural organisation leaders that Australia has been badly served in this matter when compared with the service provided by New Zealand, Canada and the United States of America.

Mr Sinclair - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(   1 ) to (3) Yes. The European drought has been taken into account as one of the many factors bearing on market prospects in the work of the Department of Primary Industry and the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and reported in the normal way, for example through Bureau publications and material made available by the Department. Because it ranks as a single factor in a total and very complex set of conditions related to market opportunities, no specific papers on the drought have been issued and I would not have expected this. It may be of interest to the Honourable Member that no criticism of the kind referred to in the question has been expressed to me or to my Department by any rural organisation leader.

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