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Thursday, 19 September 1974
Page: 1239

Senator MAUNSELL - My question is directed to the Minister for Agriculture. The Minister will agree that many farmers and farm organisations are irate about the non-reintroduction in the Budget of taxation allowances for the cost of conserving water, soil and fodder. I ask the Minister whether he assured the Australian Farmers Federation that the concessions would be returned. If so, when is it proposed to implement these measures?

Senator WRIEDT - Consistent with so many of the deliberate distortions that are being disseminated at the present time in rural areas about Government policy, it is also now being said that I made a commitment that there would be in this Budget the restoration of taxation allowances for water, soil and fodder conservation. That is a complete falsification. I have always maintained that I would take the matter back to the Government for reconsideration. I have never said that the Government would reintroduce the concessions. I have noticed that I think Mr Sinclair was quoted in this morning's Press as making the same accusation. Either Mr Sinclair is careless with the facts and does not do his homework properly, or he deliberately distorts statements which I make. I have little time for people who do that. I wish that I could express my feelings in stronger terms.

The 3 matters were considered by the Government. As the honourable senator knows, at the same time the Government agreed to establish a soil conservation authority which will be of far greater significance to agriculture in Australia in the years ahead, and the question of soil conservation will be referred to that incoming authority. The matter of fodder conservation has been deferred until the next Budget. The question of water conservation has been referred back to the authors of the Green Paper, in which, as the honourable senator will recall, reference was made to the question of water conservation, for the making of a further report to Cabinet.

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