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Thursday, 16 May 1957

Mr McMAHON (LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Primary Industry) - I will get full details relating both to exports and sales of wheat and convey them to the honorable member just as soon as I can. So far as freights are concerned, there has been a substantial decline in shipping freights for wheat during the last few months. I think the rate has fallen from something like 230s. a ton, sterling, to 120s. a ton, sterling. That is equivalent to about 4s. Australian a bushel, and though this may appear to be a substantial fall, even 120s. is still fairly high compared with normal freights. Unfortunately, because of competitive conditions overseas, and the fact that the Australian Wheat Board has to charter in advance, the benefit is not being passed on to the Australian producer, but the c.i.f. price to the importer is being reduced by a somewhat equivalent amount.

I can deal with exports only in general terms, but I will get the details for the honorable member later. Exports have been substantially greater this year than last year. Forward sales are moving very slowly and I expect that there will be a substantial reduction this year, as compared with last year. I will get the exact details required by the honorable gentleman and pass them on to him.

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