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Thursday, 22 September 1983
Page: 1230

Mr IAN CAMERON(10.17) —It is my intention tonight to draw to the attention of members of the House the most important aspect of rural production in Australia. Of course, last year rural production reached a record level of $ 12.5 billion. This value, of course, was well up on the value of a decade ago when it was only $4 billion. So honourable members can see the tremendous role that rural Australia is playing in the recovery of the Australian economic scene . The estimates issued yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the value of crop production in 1981-82 was $6,311m, while livestock slaughterings were worth $3,295m. Livestock products were worth another $3 billion. I emphasise those figures. I know that the Government is not keen on farmers. It hates farmers. The Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) and his crew hate farmers.

I emphasise these figures because of the tremendous role played by the farming sector. Wheat was the major crop with a value of $2,599m, followed by sugar cane -the great sugar crop of Queensland; where would Australia be without Queensland -which was worth $590m. Vegetables were worth $500m and the barley crop $463m. In the great cattle industry, which again is based in Queensland, livestock worth $1,890m were killed for consumption. Wool was easily the highest source of revenue after livestock. Its production was worth $1,788m. It was followed by milk and eggs. I highlight the fact that the unions in Western Australia in the wheat ports are on strike. Australia has one of the worst waterfront industrial records of any country.

Mr Hollis —That is not so.

Mr IAN CAMERON —It is true. The shippers and the farmers have to pay the extra freight involved. There is no doubt about it.

Honourable members interjecting-

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The House will come to order.

Mr IAN CAMERON —Thank you, Mr Speaker. I point out to you, Mr Speaker, that Australia is looking at a record wheat crop worth $5,000m. Yet the waterside workers in Western Australia are not prepared to get off their backsides and help us export that wheat and get this country moving.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! I invite the honourable member for Maranoa to address the Chair and not provoke other members.

Mr IAN CAMERON —Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will certainly do that. What else do we see? A record wheat crop is coming in yet it has stripe rust throughout it because of the excessive rains. What are the unions doing to the Bayer chemical company? They are on strike again. They will not help this great industry. The electorate of Maranoa and the very rich rolling plains of the Darling Downs have a record crop of waving wheat which is about to be harvested, yet what do we see ? The unions are not prepared to do anything to help the farmers. Thank you very much for your indulgence, Mr Speaker.