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Tuesday, 10 November 1959

Mr McEWEN (MURRAY, VICTORIA) (Minister for Trade) - In regard to freight on wheat, I may say that wheat has historically been freighted, cargo by cargo, on what are known as charter rates. The charter has generally been taken on the Baltic Exchange but there is no fixed rate for wheat. However, the negotiations which have recently been proceeding between Australian shipper interests and exporter interests and what are known as the United Kingdom and European conference lines, have come to a conclusion. The decision is that there shall be no change whatever in the existing freight rates for the time being. But there is a change in the formula for calculation of freight rates in subsequent periods. The change in formula will be to the advantage of the Australian exporter and shipper interests because this formula will be based upon a lower calculated rate of earning for the shipping companies.

I apologize that I am without papers to quote with precision, but I will undertake to quote to the Leader of the Opposition and the House, within 24 hours, what is factually and literally in my possession but, I regret, not completely in my mind.

Dr Evatt - Will the freight on wheat go up?

Mr McEWEN - No, the freight on wheat will be quite unaltered by these negotiations as the freight on wheat has never been related to other than cargo by cargo negotiation.

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