Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 14 November 1985
Page: 2165

Senator BOSWELL —My question is also addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Is the Minister aware that the Queensland Government has guaranteed the Queensland sugar industry $173m which is not subject to any dollar for dollar arrangement but is a straight direct grant? Is he also aware that the Queensland Cane Growers Council has asked the Queensland Government not to negotiate deregulation with the Federal Government?

Senator WALSH —I am aware of a bit of financial conjuring by the Queensland Government under which it has asserted that it has offered the industry $173m. I think that figure is correct. What the Queensland Government has put forward is a proposal to provide carry-on finance, mostly to mills and not to the cane growers, whom Senator Boswell probably purports to represent, by way of loans. But that, of course, is not $173m. The value of the interest forgone on the loans is of the order of $23m. So $23m is the real offer being made by the Queensland Government, not to the cane growers, whom Senator Boswell purports to represent, but mostly to mills. Of course, this proposal has the additional disadvantage of being essentially of a prop-up nature. It does nothing at all to address the structural problems of the industry. It just postpones to another period the inevitable structural adjustment which, because it has been postponed, will, when it eventually happens, be more painful than it need otherwise have been.