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Wednesday, 17 July 1946

Mr TURNBULL (WIMMERA, VICTORIA) l asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -

1.   How much wheat was imported into Australia for the four years ended the 31st December. 1945?

2.   What quality was this wheat?

3.   What was the average landed cost per bushel, Australian currency?

4.   What fund was drawn on for the payment of this wheat?

Mr Scully - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   1941-42, nil; 1942-43, nil; 1943-44, 210 bushels; . 1944-45, nil; 1945-46, 936,271 bushels.

2.   1943-44, no details are available; 1945-46, feed quality.

3.   This wheat was obtained under lend-lease, and I am not aware what landed value was placed on it.

4.   The wheat was obtained under lend-lease.

Mr Scully y. - Yesterday the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) asked a. question concerning wheat for New Zealand.

I have been informed that it has been reported that the price of this wheat was 5s. 9d. a bushel. Actually wheat was exported to New Zealand at the current price, usually 9s. 6d. a bushel bulk, and 9s.111/2d. a bushel bagged.

Meat Industry : Pig Meats, Appointment of Inspector in Victoria.

Mr Scully - On the 4th July, I made a statement concerning the appointment by the Controller of Meat Supplies of an inspector in Victoria to supervise pig sales. The honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) then raised a further point regarding a meeting held in Melbourne in connexion with the price of pigs at auction. Later, the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Rankin) asked further questions in connexion with this matter and also concerning the appointment of an inspector.

I repeat that the only time Mr. J. M. Wilson acted as an inspector on behalf of Meat Control was for the period from the 10th June, 1945, to the 19th July, 1945. This appointment was not "an outrageous act of public administration by a government department ", as claimed by the honorable member for Indi. It was an attempt by a government department, in conjunction with the Commonwealth Prices Commissioner, to give effect to the laws of the Commonwealth. The honorable member for Indi is very well aware of the fact that the pig producers of Victoria, together with pig producers of the other States, requested governments to give them a stabilized plan for their industry. They were given a plan, namely the pig-meat plan, with a schedule of prices which every fairminded pig producer in Australia recognized as payable. Certain producer elements, however, were not content with stabilized plan prices but sought what, in effect, were black-market prices at auction. It was in an attempt to check these prices that an inspector was appointed to police pig markets in Victoria for the period above-mentioned.

I understand that about eight or ten weeks ago bacon curers and pig-meat exporters in Victoria met to consider what action they should take in order to ensure that pig-meat plan prices were adhered to. This meeting was not convened by Meat Control, although the Deputy Controller of Meat Supplies and the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Pollard) were in attendance. The meeting decided on a course of action which was given effect to, but there was no official recognition of the action taken. The further suggestion by the honorable member for Indi that an inspector was appointed recently by the Controller of Meat Supplies is not correct. It is quite clear that he has been misinformed in connexion with the meeting and the action taken. In fact, he has been confused by his informant regarding the appointment of an inspector during JuneJuly, 1945, and the meeting held in Melbourne recently. The meeting could not decide that the price of pigs on the hoof should be reduced, as these should have been related to the pig-meat plan prices. I understand, however, that the meeting did decide that buyers would not bid for pigs at prices in excess of those related to the plan prices. It is remarkable that the main difficulties which have been encountered in regard to the implementation of pig-meat plan prices and meat prices generally have occurred in Victoria. re-establishment.

Mr Dedman n. - On the 10th July, the honorable member for Boothby (Mr. Sheehy) asked the following question: -

Can the Minister give the House any information on the progress being made in the re-establishment of ex-service men and women?

I now supply the following information : -



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