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Wednesday, 30 November 1960

Mr ADERMANN (Fisher) (Minister for Primary Industry) . - by leave - The first advance on wheat delivered to the Australian Wheat Board from the 1960-61 crop will be maintained at lis. a bushel less freight but will be paid in two instalments. The first payment will be 9s. a bushel less freight for bulk wheat f.o.r. ports on delivery, with a further payment of 2s. a bushel on 1st April next. For bagged wheat, the first advance will be 4d. a bushel above the bulk rate and an additional advance of 2d. a bushel* will be paid on Western Australian deliveriesin recognition of the freight advantage accruing to that State on export markets. These are the usual variations.

The current forecast of deliveries to the Australian Wheat Board from the 1960-61 crop is 225,000,000 bushels, a quantity well above any previous year's deliveries, and about 45,000,000 bushels above the 1959-60 figure. The finance needed - £115,000,000 - to meet the initial payment and freight and handling charges on a crop of these dimensions will require that an overdraft be arranged with the Commonwealth Bank for £5,000,000 greater than that necessary for the payment of the first advance on the previous season's crop. This overdraft will be guaranteed by the Commonwealth Government, as usual.

The board expects that the current crop year will end to-day, 30th November, 1960, with a carry-over of about 62,000,000 bushels, after 181,000,000 bushels have been sold for home consumption and export during 1959-60. Export sales made by the board during the season now ending will be about 124,000,000 bushels. This is a very high and encouraging figure having regard to difficult export marketing conditions due to world accumulations of wheat stocks, particularly in North America. The Australian Wheat Board is well aware of the need to maintain and, if possible, to increase sales of wheat to export markets, particularly in view of the anticipated record deliveries from 1960-61 crop, so that burdensome accumulations may not require to be held for undue periods. The Government will continue as in the past to work towards the maintenance and further development, if possible, of markets for Australian wheat through trade agreements and action at the international level to prevent damage to the volume of Australian commercial sales of wheat through unfair and restrictive trade practices by some of our competitors.

The Australian Wheat Board will take the necessary steps to pay growers, as promptly as possible, the initial payment against deliveries of wheat of the 1960-61 crop. Many growers should be paid before Christmas. Indeed, the board is meeting to-day in Melbourne. In view of the fact that the Commonwealth Government has made every effort to protect the interests of primary industry against inflationary trends, the Government believes that the wheat industry will appreciate the value of making this spread in payments over approximately four months.

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