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Thursday, 9 December 1976

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

(1)   What was the production and local consumption of butter, cheese, skim milk powder, full cream powder, condensed and evaporated milk, and casein for the 6 months to 3 1 December 1 976, and what was the return to the farmer on a per pound of fat in milk basis.

(2)   What tonnage of these products has been exported, and what amount is unsold.

(3)   Of that sold what is the return to the farmer on a per pound of fat in milk basis.

(4)   What were the (a) highest, (b) lowest and (c) equalised values of each of these products on the (i) local and (ii) export markets during the period.

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

(   I ) to (4) The honourable member's question relates to a period which has not been completed and the information therefore is not available.

NEAT Scheme (Question No. 672)

Mr Scholes asked the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, upon notice:

(1)   How many persons have discontinued uncompleted courses under the NEAT Scheme since the reduction in allowances payable to trainees under the scheme.

(2)   What was the total expenditure by the Commonwealth for the training provided in respect of those uncompleted courses.

(3)   What was the estimated cost of completing those courses under the terms originally authorised.

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

(   1 ) and (2) The honourable member is concerned with the effects ofthe revision of the full-time allowance under NEAT which took place in February last.

The purpose of the revision was to correct a situation where a single rate of allowance was payable to all full-time trainees, virtually irrespective of their personal circumstances. The decision to revise the allowances along these lines was taken in the knowledge that some trainees would experience a reduction in the allowance payable to them. At the same dme married trainees with one or more dependent children are, as a result of the same revision, receiving more than they did previously from NEAT, provided income available to them from other sources does not exceed the amounts allowed by the income test which is applied to the allowances.

It is clear that there was no immediate large-scale withdrawal of full-time trainees because of the introduction of the revised system of allowances. An examination of the situation during the month after the revision came into full effect on 1 April indicating that in that time some 180 full-time trainees were known to have discontinued training before completing their courses because of the effects of the revision. This represented about 4 per cent of those in training at the time.

A further study of the cases of 30 trainees who withdrew from training in Victoria during April resulted in an estimate of $138,000 as the amount which had been paid by way of allowances for their training up to the time when they withdrew.

A trend to decline in the number of full-time trainees was apparent in the months after April but it is by no means clear that this can be attributed to the revision of the full-time allowance, especially since in September and October the number of full-time trainees increased by some 140, and 90, respectively.

(3)   It has not been possible to provide an estimate of the cost of completing courses discontinued because of the revised pattern of allowances. However, the average cost per trainee under the former system of allowances was approximately $5,000 per annum.

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