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Wednesday, 17 May 1972
Page: 2650

Mr KIRWAN (FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Has the Government received the final draft of the Randall Committee report? If so, when does he expect the report to be presented in this House? Is it expected that legislation to change wool marketing procedures will be introduced in this sessional period, even if the House has to sit beyond the end of next week when presently it is planned the House will rise? Lastly, since the Minister recognises the need for Commonwealth and State agreement before a new scheme can be implemented, will he inform the House of the steps he has taken to ascertain the attitude of the States to wool acquisition or other marketing schemes, to facilitate early legislative action?

Mr SINCLAIR (NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Primary Industry) - I am delighted to see the Opposition at long last taking an interest in the marketing of wool. In terms of the Government's deliberations on wool, the Prime Minister commissioned Sir Richard

Randall to head a committee, constituted by senior representatives of a number of policy departments, to report to the Government on aspects related to the position of wool as a textile fibre relative generally to wool marketing. That report will be the basis of much of the Government's deliberations. A preliminary report has been lodged with the Government; a second report has now been received by the Government; and I understand that further reports might well be submitted to the Government by Sir Richard Randall and his fellows on the committee.

As I explained to this House the other day, the problems in relation to wool marketing need to be seen in 2 lights. The first is the time factor necessary for the introduction of change in the system of small lot handling, or the price averaging plan. The small lot handling system which is now operating has been seen to be very much in the producers' interests in the last 6-month- period of rising wool- prices. The time factor given to us by the wool brokers was that, if a scheme other than PAP were to be .introduced, they would need to be advised by 1st May. Cabinet decided that it was not practicable to .introduce a change from the PAP system as from 1st May to apply as from 1st July. Therefore, during the period from 1st July to 31st December there will be another pool period under PAP. The other recommendations of the Australian Wool Industry Conference will be considered in conjunction with the consideration of the report from Sir Richard Randall, and I hope that the. Government will be in a position to come to a decision on these well in advance of the opening of the new wool selling season which, of course, begins on 1st July next.

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