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Tuesday, 24 September 1974
Page: 1288


Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -The Minister for Agriculture will recall stating in answer to a question asked by me last week that there was no justification for or any concern about the overall income from agriculture this year. I now ask whether he will confirm that the Bureau of Agriculture Economics is forecasting a 50 per cent drop in rural net income due to both a reduction in the value of production and a 20 per cent increase in costs?


Senator WRIEDT (TASMANIA) (Minister for Agriculture) - This year only one significant area in the rural sector will experience a significant reduction in income and that is the meat industry. No other rural industry will experience reductions of the magnitude which the meat industry will experience. The honourable senator now includes in his question the term 'net income' which puts a different slant on the question altogether, as he well knows. Net farm income, of course, has to take into account increased input costs. The rural sector has to bear those increased costs this year, as it will have to bear them every year, and as every section of the community will have to bear them. The Government cannot control that situation. The only chance that the rural sector has is to maintain its gross value of income. I repeat that, with the exception of the meat industry, that income will in fact be maintained during this year.







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