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Thursday, 19 September 1974
Page: 1234


Minister for Agriculture whether he told the Australian Agricultural Council last month that farm income for the coming year was expected to be at historically high levels, appreciably higher than levels attained before the recent buoyant years. I ask the Minister how that statement can be reconciled with the prediction of a substantial decline in farm income which was contained in Statement No. 2 which accompanied the Budget speech on Tuesday night? Are we asked to believe that farm income will be historically high despite a substantial decline or is there a wide discrepancy between the estimates of the Minister's Department and those of the Treasury?

Senator WRIEDT -The estimates which have been drawn up and which I indicated to the Australian Agricultural Council are based on calculations made by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. It is true that in some areas of rural industry we can expect a decline in income. Of our 4 major industries of wheat, meat, wool and sugar, certainly there will be a decline in the income from meat. Incomes from both wheat and sugar will show an increase. Income from wool will probably remain stable as a result of the Government's decision to insert a floor price into the wool market. There is no justification for any concern about the overall income from agriculture this year. On the basis of information provided to me it will be as I stated in my speech to the Agricultural Council.

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