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Wednesday, 2 April 1980
Page: 1333

Senator ARCHER (TASMANIA) - I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry whether the Department of Primary Industry has carried out a recent review of the sub-normal rainfall areas of Australia. What is the general position relating to drought and near drought? Can the Minister report on the matter or arrange for the Minister he represents to make an early statement?

Senator SCOTT -The Minister and the Government are well aware of the climatic circumstances that apply to a very large area of Australia's rural enterprise. That condition is very severe. In my own State of New South Wales, pasture and stock and domestic water are in extremely bad shape. Of course, this relates also to the lowering of stock condition in general and the effect that this has on markets throughout the stock producing areas of the continent. Supply and price in this circumstance, as in many other circumstances are very closely related. The problem will also be significant in the forthcoming lambing and calving seasons, to say nothing of the crop situation in Australia. Such conditions in rural Australia highlight the interdependence of the whole Australian economy and the pressures that these sorts of things put on the economy. I can advise the honourable senator only that the Government is well aware of the circumstances, it is extremely concerned about them and it will remain in very close contact with those organistations which are directly involved.

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