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Thursday, 28 November 1974
Page: 2904

Senator DURACK (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -I ask the Minister for Agriculture: Is it not a fact that some months ago- 1 cannot specify the date- the Minister indicated that the Government would be making a payment of $5m in compensation to the apple industry as a result of the withdrawal in the 1973 Budget of certain sales tax concessions which had been of great assistance to the industry? If that is a fact, will the Minister indicate what has happened to the plan, when the money is likely to become available, on what terms and so forth?

Senator WRIEDT - The decision to remove the 5 per cent concession to the industry was taken, of course, in the 1973 Budget. The Government at the time indicated that it would provide $5m to assist the industry in the changes that would naturally occur as a result of the removal of the 5 per cent concession. The implication by the honourable senator in his question that considerable benefits were obtained by the payment of the 5 per cent concession can be, I think, legitimately argued. Benefits were accruing to the processing industry but certainly not to the growers. I well recall that the figures which were quoted at the time showed that even though the concession was costing the Federal Treasury about $ 18m a year only about $3m of that $ 18m was actually going to the grower. The great bulk of it was going to the processors. Of course many of the processors were big private companies which were well able to absorb the additional costs which arose from the removal of the concessions. As to the precise position of the $5m I cannot advise the Senate. I will have to get the up to date information and I will then provide an answer in more detail to Senator Durack.

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