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[Agriculture policy]

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There would be no use in Governments planning for agriculture if they did not take steps to make their plans

work, the Minister for Primary Industry, Eir. Anthony, said

in Perth today.

He said people who talked about Government planning for agriculture usually did not talk about the thing that

must go with it -- Government direction.

"I do not believe Australian farmers want Government

direction," lir. Anthony said.

"it is hard enough to work out plans in consultation

and co-operation with primary producers and then make them work, let alone work them out on your own and enforce them."

Mr,. Anthony was speaking at a University of lgestern

Australia "Policy for Agriculture" conference.

He said Australian farmers were pretty tough,

independent characters.

"Although some of them are saying the Government

should tell them what to do, I think that when they think it through and realise that it isn't nearly so simple as that, they will want to continue under the system. of joint

Government-industry consultation, co-operation and

implementation," he said.

"What is right, and what is good for farmers does

not always appear that way to them.

"This is one of the great difficulties overlooked by

people who demand that the Government tell farmers what to


Mr. Anthony said that after the Commonwealth Government had accepted the dairy industry's own proposals for reconstruction of low-income farms "all hell broke loose"

[Agricultural policy]


amongst farmers.

This showed that it was not as simple as it seemed for Governments to implement sound, constructive, worthwhile

and urgently-needed policies.

Mr. Anthony listed many occasions on which he had

given "guidance, advice and leadership" to the primary industries while speaking publicly about their problems.

"But it isn't just a question of my making all sorts

of statements, or telling rural industry organisations it's up to them to find answers to their problems, and then leaving them to it," he said.

"The process of consultation, discussion and thrashing-out of ideas and policies between the Government and the primary industries is virtually a continuous one."

Ir. Anthony said he met " a constant stream of people" to discuss policy for the primary industries; there were regular talks between industry leaders and the Cabinet; there was constant contact between officers of his Department and Bureau of Agricultural Economics and people in the primary


Quite often before an industry put a proposal before

the Government there had already been a tremendous amount of

discussion between officers, and perhaps Ministers, and the industry.

The Government and the industry needed the advice, experience and expert knowledge of the other to formulate sound, long-term policies.

"It is inevitable that in this discussion there is extensive consideration of the possible alternative lines of

action and their implications -- a lot of development and

polishing of policy ideas," Mr. Anthony said.

"We do it this way because it is our aim that when a



firm proposal is put before me officially, I can take it to the Government knowing that it is a sound, practical policy that has the support of the industry, my own support based on my own knowledge and opinion and the expert advice

of my officers, and further, that it is likely to be acceptable to the Government.

"To me, this approach makes sense."


3rd April, 1970