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Friday, 9 August 1946

Mr BREEN (CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have received from the Secretary of the New South Wales Railways a letter replying to questions about railway transport from the central west, in which he told me that he was having great difficulty in supplying immediate demands. A statement appeared on his behalf in the press that the New South Wales railways would have great difficulty in lifting wheat from the Australian Wheat Board and the difficulty would be aggravated by the need to supply transport for starving stock. In view of that position, will the Prime Minister consider the purchase from the Australian "Wheat Board by the Government of that wheat in order that it might be retained in the district for use as stock feed? The railways may not beable to lift the wheat until half way through next year, by which time the rice crop will be coming forward in Eastern countries, whose present demand for wheat will accordingly diminish. As it is impossible otherwise to feed the stock the possibility exists of stock losses equal to those incurred during the drought two years ago when 10,000,000 sheep were lost. The value of the wool lost then was equal to £10,000,000.

Mr Anthony - What is the question?

Mr BREEN - Will the right honorable gentleman consider allocating sufficient money from the Consolidated Revenue or some other source to purchase the wheat for use as stock feed rather than risk losing the sheep, and the wool representing £10,000,000 worth of foreign exchange?

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