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Wednesday, 1 May 1957

Mr McMAHON - Four questions have been asked by the honorable member, and I shall try to deal with each of them as it comes into my head. As to the last part of the question, several of the associations - that is to say, the Victorian Dairy Farmers Association, the Primary Producers Union in New South Wales and the Queensland Dairymen's Organization - are now undertaking a promotion campaign for the sale of butter in their own States. Secondly, so far as overseas sales are concerned, as I mentioned in the House yesterday, representatives of the Australian Dairy Produce Board left Australia yesterday to see whether something more could be done to sell Australian butter on the United Kingdom and other markets. They have a comprehensive list of items that they are to look into, and I am confident that the' dairy industry itself is able to look after these problems. As to the first two points raised by the honorable gentleman, a new five-year dairying industry stabilization plan is now under discussion between leaders of the industry and myself. I am to see the representatives of the council of the dairying industry organization itself on Friday, in Sydney, and I hope to be able to make a statement shortly after I have seen them. As to London prices, it is true that the price of butter on the London market has fluctuated up and down and, a few days ago was, I think about 258s. per cwt., which was a little better than previously. In March it was 248s. per cwt. As to the first part of the honorable gentleman's question about whether there is to be a substantial reduction in the interim payments, I think the honorable member is probably misinformed. I do not think there will be a substantial reduction; however, I shall obtain accurate information on that matter, and let the honorable gentleman have it.

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