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Tuesday, 9 September 1958

Mr McMAHON - The answers to the questions asked by the honorable gentleman from Calare are these: First, as to the prospects in Australia for this year, I did hear that the chairman of the Australian Wheat Board estimated that there will be a delivery of about 180,000,000 bushels this coming wheat year. Last year, I think, about 80,000,000 bushels were delivered to the board. As to the second question, there is expected to be a record crop in the United States of America, and- a smaller crop in Canada. It is thought that there will be a reduced crop in Western Europe, due to wet weather conditions. China will have an increased crop. The overall result, therefore, is that an increased crop of wheat is expected to be available this year in the northern hemisphere.

The International Wheat Agreement will expire on 31st July next year, and negotiations under the United Nations for another agreement will commence shortly. As to the last question, there will, of course, be marketing difficulties associated with such a large crop and such a large over-supply. The Australian grower can be assured that his crop will be taken by the Wheat Board and will be paid for under the wheat stabilization scheme. Shortly, a bill will be brought before this House to continue the wheat stabilization scheme. Finally, because we do not have a carry-over, we are in a particularly fortunate position in Australia to handle such a large crop as 180,000,000 bushels.

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