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Thursday, 6 December 1973

Senator WRIEDT - It is true that for some years there has been considerable dissatisfaction in some of the States with the dairy equalisation arrangements. A recent decision by the Government to phase out the dairy bounty did in fact cause the Australian Dairy Industry Council to appoint a sub-committee to investigate the equalisation arrangements because the partial withdrawal of the bounty has had about a 1.5c per lb effect on the equalisation arrangements. I understand that the sub-committee has reported back to the ADIC with the proposal that there should be an 80 per cent retention in each State of proceeds from butter sales. This has been the kernel of the problem in the past, particularly with Queensland and New South Wales. The present position is that the industry will need to endorse these proposals, which I believe will be done, providing the industry agrees, early next year.

For all the faults of equalisation, I think it should be said that a breakdown in these arrangements, especially by the 2 northern States, would mean the development of a very serious position in the Australian dairy industry and, almost certainly, a complete breakdown of orderly marketing in Australia. I hope that during the industry's discussions on these newer proposals next year good sense will prevail and we will not see the breakdown that many people seem to think will take place.

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