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Thursday, 19 March 1987
Page: 1212

(Question No. 5127)


Mr Wright asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice, on 23 February 1987:

(1) What are the details of the Commonwealth's financial contribution to the Special Sugar Agreement with sugar growers and the Queensland Government.

(2) Is he able to say what is the contribution in dollar terms from the Queensland Government to that agreement and for what use is the money provided by the Queensland Government to be put.

(3) Has his attention been drawn to the claims by the Premier of Queensland that the Queensland Government has provided most of the money available to growers and that the delay in finalising the arrangement was the fault of the Commonwealth.


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

(1) The Commonwealth Government has agreed to provide funds up to a nominal amount of $18 million over 3 years ending 30 June 1989 for adjustment assistance for sugar growers in the form of interest subsidies and lump sum interest subsidy grants, including $1 million in interest subsidies and grants in respect of renegotiation of existing carry on loans funded by the Queensland Government.

(2) The Queensland Government has agreed to provide $7 million over 3 years ending 30 June 1989 for adjustment assistance for sugar growers in the form of interest subsidies and lump sum interest subsidy grants, including $2 million in interest subsidies and grants in respect of renegotiation of existing carry on loans funded by the Queensland Government.

(3) The answers to (1) and (2) above confirm that the Commonwealth will provide the larger part of the assistance to growers. The delay in finalising the arrangements for grower assistance was due to the necessity to draw up a new Commonwealth/Queensland agreement that would provide assistance to growers under a more flexible program than the existing Rural Adjustment Scheme, as was requested by growers and in accordance with the principles agreed between the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments under the Sugar Industry Plan. This agreement has now been signed and Commonwealth funds have been made available.

It should be noted that claims made by the Premier of Queensland usually need to be examined for veracity.