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Thursday, 18 July 1946

Mr LEMMON (Forrest) .- According to the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. McDonald), the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) attempted to mislead the committee.

Mr McDonald - There is no doubt about that.

Mr LEMMON - The facts are that at no time did any government make a payment on wheat out of proportion to its value, or make an advance from the Treasury out of proportion to the value of the grain.

The honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) stated that I said that merchants bought wheat at ls. a bushel and the Government paid to growers 2s. a bushel. That was not true. The Government paid only ls. 4d. a bushel. That is proof of my statement that the payment was in relation to the value of the wheat. There is ample justification for the contention of the honorable member for Dalley that as the Government will be required to provide finance for this scheme, it should be represented on the board. It has been said that the growers are financing this pool. The right honorable member for Darling Downs (Mr.Fadden) was particularly insistent on that point. If that were true, and if it were unnecessary for the Government to provide financial backing, there would be no need for this scheme at all. But we know that the Government must support the fund. If this were not so, the wheat-growers could manage their own pool. This, as every informed person is well aware, would be utterly impracticable, for strong government support is essential. If wheat falls below a certain price the Treasury will be called upon to keep the fund stable. The right honorable member for Darling Downs was fair enough to say that if such a time arrived a representative of the Treasury should be appointed to the board. If the price of wheat should fall below 5s. 2d. a bushel f.o.r. at ports, producers engaged in the pig, poultry, dairying and certain other rural industries will be called upon to contribute to the pool, for they will have to pay 5s. 2d. a bushel for the wheat they require. So, logically, they also could request representation. If the world wheat market should decline to it's 1938 condition, with a similarlow price for wheat, the Treasury and therefore the public of Australia would be required to provideĀ£21,000,000 to keep this fund sufficiently solvent to ensure to the farmers 5s. 2d. a bushel for their wheat f.o.r. at ports.

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