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Thursday, 14 October 1971
Page: 2434

Mr GRASSBY (Riverina) - I desire to put to the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) 2 queries which have already been raised in the countryside. They relate to the formula and to possible delays in payments. In the first instance, as the Minister pointed out in answer to queries posed by the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson), this is an emergency grant and is therefore different from long-term stabilisation schemes. The Minister said that this is an emergency grant for only one year and I take the point that he has made and will consider it in that light. Part III of the Bill contains the formula whereby the deficiency payments will be made. As I have understood this in discussion with my colleagues and with those who have examined the formula, it will mean, in effect, that the lower the actual return from auction or priate sale, the less that will be received by way of deficiency payment.

I should like to ask the Minister whether, in fact, there was another approach or a series of approaches tried in this regard or whether this was determined to be the best way to proceed, as a matter of policy. I see that the Minister is puzzled. I shall try to make myself clear. The formula which is now proposed - I am posing this as a question - appears to mean that the less a person receives either at auction or by private sale, the more he will receive for deficiency payments. The more that a person actually receives at either auction or private sale, the more he will receive for deficiency payments under this legislation. At this stage, I am asking whether this was a matter of policy.

Mr Sinclair - Yes, it was.

Mr GRASSBY - It was a matter of policy?

Mr Sinclair - It was decided as a percentage payment which attracts more for the more that is received.

Mr GRASSBY - Did the Minister try any other approaches?

Mr Sinclair - Yes.

Mr GRASSBY - Perhaps the Minister can be given an opportunity later to outline some of those approaches, because the question that arises is: Why adopt this formula? If it is designed as an emergency scheme for one year only to meet the need where it is greatest, it does not seem to do that. The best and fairest thing for me to do is to ask the Minister: 'What did you try and why were the other formulas rejected?' I pose this as a question to give the Minister an opportunity to answer queries which have been asked already.

My second query to the Minister is: What is the anticpated delay in the wool grower receiving the deficiency payment? Obviously, there will be 2 time factors. There will be a time factor related to wool sold at auction or through a wool broker and there will be a time factor related to private sales. I should like the Minister to indicate what the time factor is likely to be in both cases because I think that all honourable members have recognised that there is an urgency about getting money to the wool growers. This question has been raised and I hope that the Minister will be able to give the Committee some guidance in relation to the application and operation of the formula.

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