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Inquiry for West Australian farmers

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10 April 1974


The Prime Minister, Mr. Whitlam announced today that assistance to "new land" farmers in Western Australian had been referred to the Industries Assistance Commission for inquiry and advice to the Government.

Mr. Whitlam said that the decision was based on a submission received from the Farmers' Union of Western Australia regarding the effect of allowing the Phosphate Fertilizer Bounty to lapse. A prima facie case had been made out showing that "new land"

farmers' incomes could be significantly affected by the ending of the bounty.

The Prime Minister said that, the policy of the Australian Government is at all times to alleviate hardship in any section of the Australian community and to assist those who suffer difficulties as a result of a government decision·. The Farmers' Union had shown

that a significant number of farmers could be involved.

The Government had in mind that the greater need for fertilizer during the development period on the particular soils in the "new land" areas could put these farmers in temporary difficulties. The Commission has been given a free hand to recommend any form of assistance which it considers appropriate, in the light of the

evidence, for "new land" farmers in Western Australia. Assistance could be by way of help in purchasing phosphate fertilizers or in other ways. The Prime Minister also asked for advice on the consequences of any assistance being on a basis of a maximum tonnage

of fertilizer and also expected to receive advice on other practicable ways of confining assistance to those in need. The Commission has been asked to report on the reference as soon as possible.

Mr. Whitlam said that this reference was in accord with his commitment to refer those industries or regions which could make out a prima facie case on the need for assistance when the superphosphate bounty expired. The Minister for Primary Industry

had recommended that the Farmers' Union submission made out such a case for "new land" farmers.