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Monday, 19 October 1970

Mr ANTHONY - As the honourable member for Cowper is well aware legislation has been passed by this Parliament to enable $25m to be provided to the States for the reconstruction of marginal dairy farms. Already, 2 States have signed agreements. Only last week I tabled in this House the agreement with Queensland. Negotiations arc proceeding with Tasmania. That State has agreed to the general proposals and a few minor matters need to be resolved. In South Australia, there is a willingness to agree to the plan and 1 hope that negotiations can be concluded in the very near future.

However, with New South Wales, a vacuum still exists. I have had no contact from New South Wales nor is there any evident willingness on its part to come forward and to negotiate with the Commonwealth. I find this a bit hard to understand particularly when we look at the sorts of terms and conditions which Queensland is making available now to its farmers. In the agreement tabled here last week, money is being provided to farmers who wish to leave the industry or who wish to amalgamate with neighbouring farmers. The term of that loan will be 25 years while the interest rate will be. I believe, 5 per cent, with 2 years non-repayment. I would think that these are pretty attractive terms to farmers around Australia and that many would like to have the advantage of them.

I am hoping that dairy farmers in New South Wales in the near future might be able to have this advantage because it is of concern to see so many dairy farmers leaving the industry in parts of the State when, f believe, these families could be kept in business - they could stay on the land, perhaps not in dairying but in other forms of activity - by getting access to suitable finance which they have great difficulty in getting at the moment.

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