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Help wheat industry by lifting sanctions against South African

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Tim Fischer mp Federal Member for Farrer

Leader of the National Party of Australia

Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources


L179/91 EMBARGOED TO 1600 HRS Saturday 16/2/91


Australia must immediately lift sanctions against South Africa to permit wheat sales forthwith following the announcement by President de Klerk of a firm schedule to further dismantle the last vestiges of Apartheid.

Federal Leader of the National Party Tim Fischer, said this when opening the Corowa Show this afternoon and later at a Hillston National Party Branch dinner.

"Such a move is sensible, giving access once again to a very valuable market for Australian Agricultural products, as the original reason for Sanctions have evaporated," Mr Fischer said.

"Clearly the Sanctions are now unnecessary and we should now demonstrate that they were not put in place for any other purpose other than to achieve reform of Apartheid," Mr Fischer said.

"Such a sensible move would bring enormous trading opportunities for Australia which, up until sanctions were imposed, enjoyed a lucrative and harmonious trading relationship with South Africa.

"Before Sanctions were imposed, South Africa bought significant quantities of Australian wheat, motor vehicles, agricultural implements, pasture seeds and other goods. In 1985/86 total trade to South Africa was worth almost $131 million," Mr Fischer said.

"Our beleaguered Wheat industry would welcome sales of wheat to South Africa which in 1986/87 amounted to almost 64 thousand tonnes, worth $10.7 million and in a previous year topped $55 million.

"Resumption of trade has the potential of producing a much needed multi million dollar injection into the economy of the wheat industry," Mr Fischer said.

"In addition to re-establishing trading links there should be an immediate resumption of direct airline flights between Australia and South Africa. It is crazy to allow the present farce to

continue where a significant passenger traffic between the two Nations is diverted through Zimbabwe. Both South Africa and Zimbabwe should be served by viable direct flights.

Mr Fischer said the Australian Government has to face up to the fact that unless we trade our way out of the economic mess

they've put us in then we will continue to suffer economic agony for a very long time.

Note: A 'one off' sale of wheat was made to South Africa recently as drought aid. ENDS 16/2/91

For further information phone 069 271 456 (Mr Fischer) or 06 2514612 (John Anderson)