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Tuesday, 29 October 1974
Page: 2027

Senator SCOTT (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask my question of the Minister for Agriculture. In view of the present buoyancy of the wheat market and reports that Australia is to support the establishment of an international system of grain reserves, I ask the Minister whether there are any indications, now that wheat quotas have been abandoned, of a major swing to wheat production with a corresponding decline in the output of other traditional products such as meat and wool. Does the Minister encourage such a swing? In view of the Minister's reply to Senator Young earlier today, will Australian production of phosphate rock significantly lower the price of superphosphate to the Australian farmer? Is the Minister implying, as I hope he is, that a much needed substantial increase in the level of the first advance payment is this Government's policy?

Senator WRIEDT -I shall be making a statement in two or three days time in relation to the last matter raised. In answer to the earlier part of the question, I point out that it is not the Government 's role to determine what farmers do with their property. The farmer has to make his own judgment as to whether in the next year or two he will invest in wool, meat or grains. It is quite obvious that at the present time the world market for wheat is at a record level. The price is about SA4.20 a bushel. Consistent with the matters which were raised earlier about the World Food Conference, we are out to maximise the crop by encouraging wheat growers to produce as much as they possibly can. As to specific measures which the Government is taking, they will be the subject of a statement to be made shortly.

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