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Thursday, 15 August 1974
Page: 968

Senator LAUCKE - I address a question to the Minister for Agriculture. Is it a fact that New Zealand, which is normally a 100 per cent purchaser of Australian wheat, has purchased 13,500 tonnes of United States hard red winter wheat, which will be the first United States wheat to enter New Zealand for decades? What were the circumstances surrounding Australia's loss of that $2.25m sale? Is it a fact that the Australian Wheat Board had the requisite type of wheat available but could not take advantage of the order because of the policies and actions of Australian and New Zealand maritime unions?

If so, what action does the Government contemplate taking to ensure that Australia retains the very valuable New Zealand grain market?

Senator WRIEDT (TASMANIA) (Minister for Agriculture) - Essentially the answer to the question is yes. Senator Laucke 's outline of the events is correct. As to what action the Government can take, this matter has been raised before in the Senate. I think it was only yesterday that Senator Bishop answered a question in which he indicated that the Government always endeavours to use its good offices to overcome the disputes which arise. I think it would be wrong to assume that the New Zealand market has been lost permanently. Normally New Zealand does not purchase wheat from Canada, but I understand that it had no option in view of the circumstances. I presume that it will revert in the future to the normal pattern of purchasing wheat from Australia.

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