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Thursday, 16 May 1957

Mr McMAHON (Lowe) (Minister for Primary Industry) . - in reply - I rise to answer three questions that were put to me by the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) when he resumed the debate as the official spokesman of the Opposition. The first question he asked was as to the Commonwealth's contribution. I should have made it a little more clear that the Commonwealth has agreed it will contribute on a £l-for-£l basis up to a maximum amount equal to the amount contributed by the growers. In other words, if worthwhile schemes can be put up and the Wheat Industry Research Council, which will be constituted under clause 9 of the bill, recommends research schemes which I, as the Minister, think are worthy of being supported, then the Commonwealth will make its contribution on a £l-for-£l basis. The Commonwealth will contribute if there are sufficient schemes recommended which it considers worth while, and it will make a contribution up to a maximum amount equal to the amount of cash provided by the growers. I think that is a generous contribution by the Commonwealth, and it has met with the full approval of the growers themselves.

The second question asked by the honorable gentleman was as to why the flourmillers, the bakers and their employees were not to be represented on the council. The answer is that the flour-millers have their own specialized research section and therefore are not interested in coming into this research scheme, relating as it does to the production of wheat.

Mr Whitlam - What about the Bread Research Institute?

Mr MCMAHON - If the honorable member will wait a while, I shall refer to that. I arn at present replying to the question asked me by the honorable member for Lalor on behalf df the Opposition. The bakers have their own Bread Research Institute. They are satisfied with that institute and have not suggested that they should contribute to another research body or to be represented on the Wheat Industry Research Council.

The third point raised by the honorable member for Lalor concerned the State committees. Here I should say that this scheme was put to the Government by the Australian Wheat Growers Federation. It initiated the scheme and recommended the contribution of id. a bushel. When the federation made its recommendation to the -Government, it said it wanted the amounts collected in a State to be distributed to the various research organizations in that State. It was the federation's suggestion, and I personally think it was proper for the Government to agree to it. I think I have answered the three questions that were asked of me by the honorable gentleman who has spoken on behalf of the Opposition.

The honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Ian Allan) asked whether new research projects would be financed, and he raised some doubts as to the efficacy of the scheme that has been proposed. I think it has already been indicated that the scheme has the approval of the Australian Wheat Growers Federation and I, for one, am prepared to rely upon that approval. As to whether the scheme will be efficient, the Government has looked at it and believes that it will be. The Australian Wheat Growers Federation has considered the bill and thinks that the purposes for which the legislation has been drafted will be carried out by these provisions. As to new schemes, it is solely because of the fact that the Commonwealth is making new contributions that there is not only a hope, but an expectation, that new schemes that are put to the Wheat Industry Research Council will, in fact, be approved. Therefore, I say to the the honorable member for Gwydir, first, that the Australian Wheat Growers Federation believes that the formula contained in the bill will make its purposes effective and, secondly, that the contribution made by the Commonwealth will be for the purpose of new schemes, and to carry out new research projects.

I have every expectation that the plans and hopes of the Australian Wheat Growers Federation will be realized. I hope the scheme will be carried out in accordance with its wishes and make a notable contribution to the development, not only of the wheat-growing industry in this country, but also to the national economy.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and committed pro forma; progress reported.

Message recommending appropriation reported.

In committee (Consideration of GovernorGeneral's message):

Motion (by Mr. McMahon) agreed to -

That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act to establish a Wheat Research Trust Account, and for purposes connected therewith.

Resolution reported and adopted.

In committee: Consideration resumed.

Bill - by leave - taken as a whole.

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