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Tuesday, 19 February 1980
Page: 11

Mr KERIN (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I refer the Prime Minister to the fact that the Government's imposition of an export embargo has prevented the sale of 25,000 tonnes of New South Wales yellow maize to the Soviet Union. I ask the Prime Minister: Is he aware that the price offered for this sale by the Soviet Union was $ 1 32 a tonne? Is he aware that the price now being offered on the international market for the same maize is as low as $96 a tonne? Will the Prime Minister indicate how the Government proposes to compensate the maize producers of New South Wales for this loss of $lm in income through the Government's decision to impose a trade embargo?

Mr NIXON (GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA) (Minister for Primary Industry) -The position that the Government has adopted on grain sales has been consistent with that taken by other countries throughout the world. I notified all the grain organisations throughout Australia of the Government's position and put out a Press release for those organisations that may not have received direct notification.

Mr Young - In how many languages did you put it out?

Mr NIXON - I put it out in simple language which even the honourable member could understand. Just because he has been demoted, he does not have to climb back here today.

The situation is that representatives of the New South Wales Yellow Maize Marketing Board have been to see me about the prospect of selling 25,000 tonnes of grain to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I pointed out to the Board that the proposed sale was inconsistent with the Government's position in that the first sign of negotiation came after President Carter's statement. Indeed, there was no firm negotiation until the Prime Minister's statement was made. I said that it would be totally wrong for me to approve the sale against the background of our agreement not to fill the vacuum created by President Carter's decision. In terms of any loss that may occur to the Yellow Maize Marketing Board, I said to the Board that it would be opportune for it to make other arrangements for sale and, if it then believed that a market opportunity had been denied to it or that in fact there was a financial loss through the sale and it thought it could prove that fact, it could come to the Government and I would be prepared to take that matter to the Government. That is the position that obtains.

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