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Thursday, 1 June 1972
Page: 2424

Senator DONALD CAMERON (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Are there ominous signs that the prolonged drought in the main wheat growing areas could considerably reduce the expected wheat yield this year? Is there not a distinct possibility that wheat production could be so reduced that Australia would be unable to fulfil its export commitments? Will the transfer of wheat quotas be considered by the Minister as a means of alleviating the situation if the dry spell continues?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - I think it would be fair to say that at this time of the year there are always doubts, particularly when it has been as dry as it has been in many parts of Australia, on whether Australia will fill its quota of 407 million bushels on which the Government will pay a first advance. This is something that the Australian Wheat Board must consider very carefully in regard to how much wheat it has available for carryover from one season to another. I feel sure that if rains come in the near future, and if there are follow-up rains there will be a good harvest. I do not think that I can obtain any information for the honourable senator that will indicate at this time of the season just what is the position.

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