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Warning on wheat stocks, debt

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The whole Australian wheat industry must face the problem of a

build-up of stocks and a growing burden of indebtedness, the Minister

for Primary Industry, Mr. Anthony, said at Narrabri today.

He said growers should be aware that the costs of storage and

handling and interest charges were becoming much higher - about 18 cents

per bushel this year. This meant the Wheat Board had to borrow from the

Reserve Bank this year not merely sufficient money to pay a $1.10 per

bushel first advance but a sum the equivalent of $1.28 per bushel on

quota wheat.

Mr. Anthony was officially opening new premises for the Premium

Wheatgrowers' Association.

He said the Commonwealth within the next few weeks would have to find

some $250 million to lend the Wheat Board because its borrowing time with

the Reserve Bank in respect of the 1968/69 Pool would run out at the end

o:? this month. The .Board in addition was currently borrowing to pay the 1969/70 Pool first advance and expenses, for which the Commonwealth had

guaranteed Reserve Bank Loans of up to $440 million. And now the

Commonwealth had agreed to guarantee further advance's of up to $407 million

for the 1970/71 harvest.

Mr. Anthony said stockpiling could be part of the answer to ensuring

continuity of supply of Prime Hard wheat, the shortage of which this year

resulted in Australia. being unable tb meet the quality requirements of some

very important markets. But careful consideration must be given to the

desirable or feasible or acceptable level_ of stocks and to how they were

to be controlled and most importantly how they were to be financed.

Mr. Anthony said the supplementary quota for Prime Hard wheat should

not be regarded as a continuing or pre-emptive right. "It will have to

be reviewed next year and for every year that delivery quotas continue,"

he said.


2nd March, 1970