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Friday, 3 December 1976

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

(1)   Does his Department or the Bureau of Agricultural Economics regularly survey the rice industry.

(2)   What information is available on the rice industry.

(3)   What estimates of the economic situation in the rice industry over recent years are available to the rice industry.

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

(   1 ) Specific and regular farm surveys of the rice industry are not undertaken by the Bureau. The Bureau's resources have been and are fully committed in carrying out surveys of the major grazing, cropping and horticultural industries. The most recent Bureau data available relating to rice farms is contained in a survey of the MIA region carried out by the Bureau in conjunction with the N.S.W. Department of Agriculture. The survey relates to the period 1970-71 to 1 972-73 and covers a sample of MIA farms producing prime lambs and rice. Economic data obtained from this Survey has recently been indexed forward to obtain a more current assessment of the industry's economic situation. The results are presented in the last mentioned paper below.

(2)   and (3) The market situation and prospects for the rice industry are continuously monitored and regularly reported as part of the Bureau's commodity economic research program. A report on the situation and outlook for rice is prepared annually by the Bureau and presented at the National Agricultural Outlook Conference. The report for the 1977 Conference is currently being finalised and will be available early in the New Year. The report will be discussed at the Outlook for Rice Session of the Conference on Friday 4 February 1977.

As part of supply and demand projections for all major agricultural commodities the Bureau has prepared and published projections of likely longer term developments in the rice industry. More recently these projections were revised and amended and are currently being printed for publication. However, they have already been discussed with and made available to industry representatives.

In October this year the Bureau prepared a report on the current economic situation and future prospects in the

N.S.W. rice industry. This paper was prepared following representations to me by the N.S.W. rice industry on a number of issues relating to the industry's current economic situation. The paper has not been published but was discussed with and made available to the industry. A copy of the paper is being made available to the honourable member.

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