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Wednesday, 3 June 1970

Mr Hayden asked the Minister for Pri mary Industry, upon notice:

(1)   Was a scheme, backed by a producers' referendum, to control egg production put to the February meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council.

(2)   Was this scheme rejected by the Council.

(3)   What State Ministers opposed the scheme and what were their reasons for doing so.

(4)   Does he support the scheme.

(5)   Has the Government expressed concern about over-production in the dairy industry and stated the need for reconstruction in that industry.

(6)   Is the Government also concerned about over-production in the poultry industry.

(7)   If so. what steps are proposed to overcome the problem.

Mr Anthony - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   A scheme to control egg production by imposing a levy on hens kept by individual producers in excess of established quotas was put to the February meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council. The scheme, while having the support in principle of major industry organisations. had not been put to a referendum of Australian egg producers. A provision in the scheme was that it should not be implemented until it had been approved by a poll of producers.

(2)   Yes.

(3)   When these proposals were placed before the Agricultural Council, State Ministers agreed that the levy recommended by the industry could be imposed o'nly by the Commonwealth. The Ministers considered however that if the proposed levy system were imposed by the Comomnwealth it would certainly be successfully challenged on the grounds that legislation to limit production was beyond the constitutional powers of the Commonwealth.

(4)   See (6).

(5)   Yes.

(6)   and (7) The Government is concerned at the problem of over-production in the egg industry and would support any constitutional scheme acceptable to the majority of producers aimed at controlling production. However the Commonwealth has no power to legislate to control production. This is one of the sovereign rights of the States.

Dried Fruits (Question ,x. 703)

Mr Grassby asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

(1)   How was the guaranteed price for dried fruits arrived at. for the 1967 season.

(2)   Were all the returns to growers on which the guaranteed price was based derived solely from dried fruits sales.

(3)   If not. what percentage of the returns related exclusively to dried fruits sales.

Mr Anthony - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The guaranteed prices for the season 1967 for the varieties covered by the Dried Vine Fruits Stabilisation Scheme were the cost of production per ton for each variety in that season less JIO. The cost of production for each variety was derived for the first season of the plan (1964) from the results of a Bureau of Agricultural Economics survey of farm operations by specialist dried vine fruit, growers in Sunraysia. These cost of production figures were adjusted for subsequent seasons (including the 1967 season) to take account of changes in costs as estimated by the cost index method.

(2)   and (3) Cost of production and hence guaranteed price were based on costs on the farm, not on returns. In any event, the farm survey conducted by the Bureau from which the cost of production figure was derived was confined to specialist growers in the Sunraysia district who were concentrating only on the production of grapes for drying and delivery to packing houses.

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