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Thursday, 25 August 1983
Page: 287

Mr KERIN (Minister for Primary Industry) —Pursuant to section 54 of the Wheat Marketing Act 1979, I present the Australian Wheat Board 1981-82 annual report. I seek leave to make a short statement concerning the report.

Leave granted.

Mr KERIN —In presenting this report I am pleased to note that the Auditor- General has reported that the Board's financial statements are based on proper accounts and records. This is the first time since the passage of the current Wheat Marketing Act that the Auditor's report has given this fundamental approval to the AWBs financial statements. This assurance confirms my confidence , expressed to the Parliament on 1 June, that the Board has adopted improved controls and procedures and increased the efficiency of its organisation and management.

Honourable members will note that the Auditor-General has commented upon matters where the Australian Wheat Board had acted otherwise than in accordance with the Act. These concern the manner in which the Board paid premium allowances to growers of prime wheat, and the Board's treatment of early deliveries of wheat. I have been assured that the practices which led to the Auditor-General's comments have now ceased. I believe that this annual report is evidence that the Board is overcoming its management and accounting difficulties . Those efforts will continue and I can assure honourable members that I will continue to monitor the Board's performance through its regular reporting to me.