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Tuesday, 6 September 1960

Mr Ward d asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

1.   Did the Dairy Industry Investigation Committee in its annual report declare that there had been an increase of 1.19d. per lb. in the production cost of butter?

2.   If so, why was the retail price of butter raised by 2d. per lb.?

3.   How is the difference of .81d. per lb. between the increased production cost and the retail price disbursed?

Mr Adermann - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   For the purposes of the Dairy Industry Stabilization Plan for the year commencing 1st July, 1960, the Dairy Industry Investigation Committee, in its 1960 report, stated that the found cost to the farmer of efficient production of butter had increased by 1.19d. per lb. commercial butter basis. In addition, the increase in average manufacturing costs calculated by the Commonwealth Dairy Produce Equalization Committee Limited in consultation with the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, and accepted by the Government for the purposes of the plan, was .374d. per lb. This made the total ex-factory cost increase 1.564d. per lb.

2.   As a result of the abovementioned increase in costs, the Government agreed to the dairy industry's request for an increase in the exfactory price of butter under the Stabilization Plan of 1.564d. per lb. The retail price level is determined by the retailers themselves, except in Queensland, where the Prices Commissioner determines the maximum price.

3.   As explained above, 1.564d. of the 2d-, per lb. is accounted for by increases in costs to the farmer and in manufacturing costs. The actual break-up of the remaining .436d. between wholesalers' commission and patting and retail margins is not known. The Commonwealth Government has no authority in relation to it.

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