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Tuesday, 19 November 1974
Page: 2478

Senator SCOTT (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Would the Minister for Agriculture agree that the inflationary cost situation has hit the Austraiian wheat industry at least as severely as any other industry? Would he agree also that $1.20 per bushel is now an unrealistically low first advance when the world market price of wheat is around $4 per bushel, and that the ratio of $1.20 to $4 compares most unfavourably with the position in many years which saw the ratio at about $1.10 to $1.35? Would the Minister, having a view to these circumstances, the current need to inspire production to meet the demands of a starving world and the liquidity problems confronting producers, undertake as a matter of urgency to press for a $1.80 first payment for the current 1974-75 crop?

Senator WRIEDT - I thought I answered in considerable detail virtually the same question last week which I think was asked by Senator Young. I pointed out then the liquidity position of the Australian wheat growing industry in comparison to that of years gone by and the much more favourable position in which the Australian wheat grower, across the board, is placed this year than he has ever had in the past. I do not believe a case can be substantiated to suggest that that agreed upon first advance of $1.20 should be increased. One ought to bear in mind, as I pointed out last week, that the industry agreed to that $1.20. Even despite that, the Government this year has indicated months ahead of the normal procedure that it will pay an increase on the first advance of $1.50 next year and that all quotas will be suspended. There is nothing more that a government could reasonably be expected to do to assist that industry or to provide the incentives that are necessary to encourage growers to maximise their plantings in 1975.

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