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Thursday, 9 March 1972
Page: 600

Senator YOUNG - I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. With the recently improved wool prices and the effective operations of the Australian Wool Commission during the very depressed period of wool prices last year, which operations were of so much benefit to wool growers and the economy generally, can the Minister say what stocks of wool are presently held by the Australian Wool Commission and what amount has been sold? Have any of the previous critics and prophets of doom - including members of the Australian Labor Party - about the operations of the Australian Wool Commission since made admissions to the Minister that their criticisms were ill-founded?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - I point out to the honourable senator that only from time to time does the Australian Wool Commission make information available as to the amount of stock which it is carrying. The last announcement about the carry-over of wool was made on 11th February. At that time the Commission announced that it had 570,000 bales which it had bought in under the reserve price operation and 130,000 bales which it had purchased under the price averaging plan. That particular lot of wool would go into the No. 4 pool under the price averaging scheme.

There have been critics of the Australian Wool Commission but I think it has become quite obvious to those critics now that the Commission has played a very vital role in connection with the prices that were received by growers last year. I want to make this point: Between July and December 1971 the Commission supported the market by bidding on 48 per cent of the offerings. However, it brought in only about 45 per cent of the wool for which it bid. It has been estimated by the Commission that the gains to growers as a result of trade buyers over-bidding the Commission were as much as about 4.7c per kilogramme. I think the figures speak for themselves and justify the operations of the Commission.

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