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Monday, 15 October 1973
Page: 2128

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

(1)   Did the Government in November 1972 provide loans to several fruit canneries to allow them to pay fruitgrowers up to 85 per cent of the contracted price for the 1972 season, as an interim measure pending finalisation of losses resulting from the December 1971 currency alteration.

(2)   If so, (a) which canneries received loans, (b) what was the sum advanced in each case and (c) what were the repayment and interest terms of the loan.

(3)   What percentage of the 1972 price for the various types of fruit have the growers received net of cannery levies, and what percentage of this is provided by the loan.

Mr Grassby - The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   On 1 December 1972, loans were provided by the previous Government to South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales for on-lending to certain cooperative canneries in those States. The purpose was to enable canneries to raise cash payments to growers for 1971-72 season canning fruit (peaches, pears and apricots) to 85 per cent of the prices set by the Fruit Industry Sugar Concession Committee (FISCC) or, where cannery levies in excess of 15 per cent prevented that, to FISCC price less levy.

The loans were made without any decision being taken on a request by the industry for assistance < to offset losses from international currency changes.

(2)   (a) and (b)


In relation to Leeton Co-operative, a sumof $781,000 was initially provided to the New South Wales Government. Pending determination of the size of the cannery levy to cover 1972 cannery losses, and in keeping with the conditions of the loan, the New South Wales Government withheld $281,000. Subsequent arrangements by the present Australian Government enabled the payment of a further $170,000 to the cannery in June 1973. The balance of $111,000 was refunded by the New South Wales Government. (2)(c) The loans were repayable over two years in four equal half-yearly instalments, with interest, also payable half-yearly, at 5¼ per cent per annum.

The Australian Government has agreed to a deferment for six months of the initial capital and interest payments by South Australia and New South Wales.


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