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Australia's ageing farm machinery a major concern



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AUSTRALIA * S ACKTMG FARM MATHIHERY A MAJOR CONCERN

The effects of the recession and poor market returns has left Australian farmers with a less than satisfactory situation with regard to the age of farm machinery.

Federal Leader of the National Party, Tim Fischer said this today whilst presenting the 'machine of the year' award at the Henty field Day.

"Statistics indicate that farmers have reduced their spending on new plant and equipment by a hefty overall 75%. Indeed The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics expects the level of spending over five years to fall to 15% below

optimum.

"The impact of this is fewer jobs in the machinery pipeline as well as costly machinery breakdowns for farmers.

The Stastics are quite stark? over the past decade:-* Tractor sales have fallen by over 60%

* Sales of harvesters dropped by over 90%

* Baler sales suffered an 80% decline.

* Sales of other agricultural machinery declined by over 90%.

"The sad fact is that these statistics also record the reason why our own domestic farm machinery maufacturing base has declined.

"There are those who suggest that the wind down of tariff protection has caused the decline or that new farming practices have made new machinery purchases less imperitive.

"The lie is given to this in part by the sharp (60%) decline in sales of tractors.

"The fact is that Farmer's terms of trade have declined, costs have risen alarmingly and returns have fallen."

Mr Fischer said there is some anecdotal evidence to suggest a recent small pick up in tractor sales however, when one considers that farm machinery replacement costs have risen over 870% over the past decade, largely due to inept Federal Government policies and Keating's recession we shouldn't have had, one can see why sales continue at a low level.

Ends 22 September 1992

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