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Tuesday, 9 March 1971
Page: 740

Mr Grassby asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

(1) How much wheat was in store in Australia at 1 December 1969.

(2) How much of this wheat was (a) totally damaged and (Jb) partly damaged by (i) mice, (ii) water, (iii) weevils and (iv) other causes.

(3) Han his attention been drawn to a statement in the Public Ledger of 3 October 1970 that Australia was only now offering wheat for delivery ia the period 21 March 1971 - 21 April 1971 on a C.l.P. basis.

(4) If so, what is the reason for the delay in the offer, in view of the importance of clearing present stocks to make way for the new harvest.

(5) Was wheat offered in February 1970 for delivery during the period 21 June - 20 July 1970 only; if so why.

(6) ls he able to say whether competing countries were able to offer wheat In February for delivery ia February, March or at any other date.

(7) If so, why have Australian offers been so restricted

(8) Did the Australian Wheat Committee in London advance the reason that no shipping was available.

(9) If so, why have buyers been denied wheat purchases on an F.O.B. basis where those buyers have access to shipping by their own arrangement.

(10) ls he able to say whether grain merchants such as Peter Cremer, of Hamburg, Germany, were able to charter 11 ships for the period 5 February - 2 May 1970 when Australian authorities were indicating that no ships were available.

(11) If so, what is the reason for the severe limitation on safes of Australian wheat.

Mr Sinclair - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) 266.7 million bushels.

(2) The Australian Wheat Board advises that the amount of wheat in store at 1 December 1969, either totally or partially damaged by mice was relatively small, and that the quantity totally or partially damaged by water or weevils was negligible. The Board does not know of any other causes of damage.

(3) I am aware that the Public Ledger dated 3.10.70 listed prices C.I.F. United Kingdom for about 18 different wheats in various shipping positions. Included in this list were quotations for Australian wheat for shipment in the 21 March/20 April 1971 position. I am informed that, in feet, the Wheat Board was selling wheat to U.K./Continent in October for shipment through to June/July 1971. It is now selling for shipment to October 1971.

(4) See answer to (3).

(5) No. The Wheat Board advises me that in February 1970 Australian wheat was offered to many markets in varying shipping positions.

(6) As is normally the case, competing countries were offering wheat in February for varying delivery dates.

(7) See answers to (3) and (S).

(8) Yes, for a particular market which had been already fully supplied with Australian wheat in the shipping position requested by an Australian miller who had stated that he had bad enquiries from that market.

(9) The Board, acting in the best interests of the wheatgrowers, sells wheat to certain markets on C.l.F. terms and to certain markets on F.O.B. terms, lt has not denied buyers in its F.O.B. markets the opportunity to buy on an F.O.B. basis.

(10) No comment can be given on the operations of private grain merchants.

(11) It is patently incorrect to state that there has been a severe limitation on sales of Australian wheat. The Chairman of the Australian Wheat Board, Dr A. R. Callaghan, stated on 7 December 1970 that the Board had exported the equivalent of 301 million bushels of wheat in the season which ended on 30 November. This was the second best export clearance on record. He also stated that the Board had made unusually heavy forward sales for shipment in the 1970/71 season, amounting at the time to more than 110 million bushels.

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