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Wednesday, 24 August 1960

Mr ADERMANN (FISHER, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Primary Industry) - I think it is general knowledge that the prices paid for wool during this week have receded by from 5 per cent, to 7i per cent, from the level of the July sales. As to the suggestion of the honorable member pertaining to the industry, I want to say that last year I called the two main organizations together in conference and even allowed the head of my department to take the chair because we recognize the importance of this industry. However, the representatives of the organizations were adamant in their refusal to discuss the merits or demerits of any proposal because they stated that their annual conferences had carried certain resolutions. I could not consent to call another conference under those conditions. The suggestion has been made in this House - the honorable member has put it forward again - that the Government adopt a reserve price plan and submit it to the growers. Actually, I have indicated the Government's policy on that matter and I point out that the Prime Minister has already stated that when the industry can submit a proposal with which a substantial majority of those engaged in the industry are in agreement, the Government will give it serious consideration.

The honorable member has suggested that I call a conference to consider holding an inquiry. Doubtless he will be interested to know that the two major organizations connected with the industry intend to have meetings of their own. They prefer that the growers should consider these matters in the first instance, and I wholeheartedly agree with that approach.

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