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Tuesday, 12 September 1972
Page: 685

Senator DONALD CAMERON (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Is the Minister aware of a recent survey conducted by the Farmers and Graziers Co-operative Limited which shows that this season's Australian wheat crop is expected to be the lowest for 10 years and could be as low as 250 million bushels compared with the fixed quota of 407 million bushels? Can wheat growers expect the Government to make an early announcement on the abolition of wheat quotas for the 1973- 74 season so as to ensure that production is not further curtailed at a time when our wheat stocks are at a dangerously low level?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - The quota system was introduced after the Wheatgrowers Federation had discussed the problem with delegates from the State wheat industry organisations. The Federation then came to the Government and suggested that a quota should be fixed. The quota usually is fixed in the early part of the year. This year a quota of 407 million bushels was recommended by the industry and accepted by the Government. The Government agreed to pay $1.10 a bushel as the first advance on the quota of 407 million bushels. As the honourable senator has indicated, as a result of the late start to the season and the poor rains in a number of States it is unlikely that this quota will be reached. This is so particularly in New South Wales where it is estimated that the wheat crop will be as low as 60 million bushels. I will convey to the Minister for Primary Industry the sentiments expressed in the honourable senator's question, and if the Minister can provide me with further information I will give it to the honourable senator.

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