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Tuesday, 27 November 1973
Page: 2116

Senator WRIEDT (Tasmania) (Minister for Primary Industry) - The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Wheat Export Charge Act 1968 to extend its application by one year to cover the 1973-74 season. It is complementary to the Wheat Industry Stabilisation Bill 1973. A basic feature of succeeding wheat stabilisation schemes has been that growers contribute a proportion of their returns from export sales to a stabilisation fund, the wheat prices stabilisation fund, when prices exceed a pre-determined level. In particular, the Wheat Export Charge Act 1 968 imposes a charge on all exports of a pool when the export return exceeds the guaranteed price plus $1.84 per tonne, that is 5 cents per bushel, up to a maximum charge of $5.5 1 per tonne, that is 15 cents per bushel.

Moneys contributed by growers as an export charge are thereafter available for withdrawal from the stabilisation fund to raise the return on exports to the level of the guaranteed price on a specified quantity of the pool's exports. Once growers' moneys in the fund are exhausted there is an obligation upon the Australian Government to provide from Consolidated Revenue the funds necessary to return growers the guaranteed price. Growers' moneys in the stabilisation fund were exhausted before the closure of the 1959-60 season's pool and since then the Government has been obliged to meet its commitment on the export guarantee.

It is well known that there has been a dramatic change in the world wheat market over the past 12 months or so. Prices are now very much in excess of any previous level and are almost 3 dmes the depressed levels of 1972. As a result, it seems very likely that growers will be required to contribute to the fund in respect of exports from the 1973-74 pool to the full extent of the export charge, that is, $5.5 1 per tonne. I commend the Bill.

Debate (on motion by Senator Laucke) adjourned.

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