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Friday, 26 May 1989
Page: 2845

Senator ARCHER —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. Following the comments made by the Prime Minister and several other Ministers at the time of, and subsequent to, the visit to Australia of the United States Vice-President Quayle, does the Government believe that the $800m figure quoted as being the cost to Australia's wheat sales due to the application of the United States system of the export enhancement program (EEP) for the years 1985-86 and 1986-87 is correct, or could there be an error of as much as 50 per cent, as was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald of 24 May? When will the full analysis of the operation of the effects of the EEP be completed and available to the Parliament?

Senator BUTTON —I apologise, but I am unable to comment on the figure which the honourable senator cited. Of course, the Government will continue to take every opportunity to convey to the United States Administration Australia's opposition to the EEP. We believe it has adversely affected Australian producers. The honourable senator asked, I think about the quantum of that effect. I am not able to give him that figure at the present time, but I will seek an early answer.