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Wednesday, 7 November 1973
Page: 1571


Senator WEBSTER - I ask the Minister for Primary Industry: Has his attention been drawn to comments by a leader in the pastoral industry who stated that the present Government had made the greatest financial attack on primary industry of any government in our history? Without dismissing out of hand the criticism of a leader of primary industry -


Senator McLaren - Who was he?


Senator WEBSTER -Sir Norman Giles; the honourable senator would not know him. I ask the Minister: Does he agree that revaluation upwards of the Australian dollar, the Government's decision to implement a greater increase in interest rates on borrowing for primary industry than for any other sector of the community, the withdrawal of taxation concessions which tended to encourage production and the withdrawal of taxation concessions which encouraged the renewal of production equipment and the storage of water and fodder are all positive actions by the Labor Government which could be construed as the greatest financial attack on primary industry in our history?


Senator WRIEDT -I think the gentleman to whom Senator Webster refers is the chairman of directors of Elder Smith Goldsborough Mort Ltd. I think also that he reported a 75 per cent increase in the profit of Elder Smith in the last 12 months. In fact, his report was representative of the situation of most of the big pastoral companies, reflecting the type of prosperity which exists in the rural community at present. I have said before in this chamber, and I say it again, that despite the fact that we believe that this Government has taken major initiatives which have been of very real value to rural industry, the seasonal conditions which have obtained- this is a very important factor in the upturn in rural fortunesare something for which the Government cannot and does not attempt to take credit. We are glad, not just from the point of view that we happen to be in government but from the primary producer's point of view, that he is able now to enjoy some of the benfits of primary production which he missed out on under a LiberalCountry Party Government for more reasons than one. It is easy, of course, to isolate things such as Budget concessions which allegedly have been taken away. No reference is made, of course, to the taxation concessions which have remained and which are of real benefit to the average Australian farmer. It is also easy to neglect the other things which the Government has done such as the 25 per cent cut in tariffs, something which primary producer organisations argued for years should be done. It took the Labor Party to come into power to do that. We have initiated other moves in marketing which have been referred to earlier in question time today. I would be on my feet for another half hour if I were to enumerate the positive things which have been done by this Government in the short time it has been in office. But if the honourable senator would like me to detail them for him in writing, I shall provide him with a full list of all the things this Government has done for the primary producer.


Senator Webster - I appreciate that. I accept the offer.







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