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Friday, 12 September 1969


Mr ANTHONY (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Primary Industry) - There has been a great deal of public discussion about the price of feed wheat and wheat for industrial uses! Some people have had the impertinence to think that they should be allowed to determine the price or that governments should determine the price of feed wheat. Under the Wheat Industry Stabilisation Act the domestic price of wheat, whether for human consumption or other purposes, is determined by arrangement with the wheat industry and the State governments, which pass the necessary legislation. The wheat industry has been looking into this problem. Some weeks ago it considered the matter but decided that there should be no alteration in the price until it had more time lo investigate and to examine the many implications surrounding the adjustment of the price of feed wheat or wheat used for industrial purposes.

Last week the Australian Wheat Growers Federation again met in Perth. As a result of that meeting I met the executive of the Federation in Melbourne yesterday, where certain recommendations were put to me. The Federation recommended that the Australian Wheat Board be authorised to sell on the domestic market wheat for purposes other than home consumption - that is, as stock feed or for industrial use, such as the making of starch - at a price lower than the present horns consumption price of SI. 71 a bushel but not less than the guaranteed export price. Since the home consumption price in the States is a matter for State governments, no change could be made without their agreement. I undertook to refer the recommendation to the States. This morning I sent a telegram to each State Minister for Agriculture advising that the Commonwealth concurs in the Federation's proposal and asking for the early agreement of the States to make appropriate changes in their legislation. The State Ministers are well aware of the widespread public interest in this matter. I hope that we will soon have agreement

As the price provisions of the stabilisation legislation are common to all States I have also offered to have a model amendment drafted so that each State might make the changes as soon as possible. In my discussions with the Federation reference was also made to the possibility of a Commonwealth contribution towards making up the difference between the present price and any newly determined price for stock feed wheat or wheat used for industrial purposes. The Commonwealth is not prepared to do this. Early action to permit application of the prices the Federation has proposed is a responsible approach by the industry to overcome some of the problems that are looming with the prospect of substantial quantities of over-quota wheat being available in the coming season in some States. I am sure that the proposals submitted by the Federation are ones which will be welcomed by the industrial users of wheat, by the provender millers and by the users of stock feed, such as the poultry, pig and cattle industries.







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