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Tuesday, 4 October 1983
Page: 1318

Question No. 84

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

(1) Has his attention been drawn to a decision by the grain growing industry to allow grain, irrespective of where it is grown, to be shipped through the nearest port, irrespective of State.

(2) If so, will the Commonwealth take the initiative to rationalise the grain industry in the most economic manner.

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

(1) I am aware that the Australian Grains Industry Conference held on 26-30 October 1981 called for grain to be moved by the most economic route (road or rail) to seaboard terminals regardless of State boundaries.

(2) The Government is committed to exploring ways in which grain handling can be improved. While wheat is the responsibility of the Australian Wheat Board the provision of facilities for the receival, storage, handling and transport of the grain is a responsibility of the States. Consequently, any initiatives to rationalise and co-ordinate these functions will require close consultations with the States as well as grain growing industries.

However, there are complex longer term investment, financial and other issues involved in planning Australia's future grain handling and storage needs and there is a need for adequate information to enable the practical options to be considered and discussed by the various parties involved. My Department in association with the Australian Wheatgrowers' Federation is exploring ways in which this information may be obtained and the options identified.