PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5450


Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 21/09/1980

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 5450

The dacision to be made by Vot:
will be a decision of great si
Significant progress has-bee
today Australian farmers and p~
greater optimism than they hav
Herds are being re-baxlt. The
increasing rapidly. The cottol
The fruit and dairy industries
and difficult x~ eriod of adjusti
haB decided on a significant p;
The recoveryI has been sustaine4
drought conditions. Confidenei
amongst the rural comnity.
pioture six years ago when f a
The Iran on the land knows, he h
and initiative for many things
fluctuations as priceB-xisE& An
section of the Australian comm
droughts and floods and the vi
chaIlenges_ ', MxiV. e , Xpec" tsa nd
is Governmenit incomp. etence,
Government policiea towazds th
unsy-mathetic or even hostile
Retween 1972 ard 1975, a Labor party, GoVarni3eA-t ir, 1Au1ttalia
atripped away those mz whi-ch-pre'vious Goverflm5flts had
designed to -help the f armer survive bad seasons or f allizzg
Tnarket&. At the aaje, time, because of the in60mTPStenflO Of -tba
Australian Labor Party Government, farm costs began to rise
rapidly. By 1974-75, thpese costs were riaing at an; an-nual rate
of 30 * per cant. The man on the land was ca-ught in a squeeze
between these. soaring costs of production and. falling prices ar.
Aiustralia lost important m~ arkets overseas without ven a protest
f rom the Labor dorerr *, t
His plight was also t-hat of the whole nation. Becauze of this,
squeeze on farmers, great Australian assets -were run dow-n. The
sheep flock and the national cattle herd both fell. Farmers
put off investment decisions.-They' cut back on farm-maintenance.
Their properties wero run down. / 1 C
MM. h-Y, 21 SEPTiEMBER, 1980
ing Aastralians on October 18
Inificance for the ra3ral community.
Daad.. in the last f iv-e Years and
astoralists fa* Ce the future with
Sfor a longtim.
are a planted to grain iB
ni and rice industr2ies are expnd. rLg.
have gone through a suiccessf ul
rent, while the sugar cane -industry
roduction increase.
d despite widespread curzrent
e and morale have beeD restored
Rhat a contrast this is to the
ners averywhere faced r-uin.
as to rely on: his own enterprise
li~ e is accustomed to income
d fall in a way which no other
unity has to face. Bushfireq,.
cissitude of the taxketplaoe are
accep-ts., What be do" -not expect
e rura] industry which are

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All' thiis happened during a time of reasonable seasonal
conditionsl, because an. irresponsible Govertmaerit had caused
raging inflation and then dumped the farmer when the prices of
his products were turning down on world. markets. The Australian
Labor Party, with its hostility-towud9 rural. Alstnalia, u-Sed
the Coombs Report to take away thne network of supprwhc
. farmers so much need. pr hc
Over the last five years that position ntas. been transformed.
The Government gave immediate priority in 1976 to new rural
policies. These policies-wexe aimed at assisting adjustment,
facilitating market access, increasing the availability of
long%-term credit, -reducing _ the l ev l__ Luncer Lai nty, a-ad
increas~ ing substanrtially the profitability of Australian farms.
These policies have been successful.
The. Covernment established a Priiiary Industry Bank which has
* made loans.. to 3,500 farmers totalling more than $ 250 million.-
Rural. adjustment schemes were expanded in co-operation with
the States. -Last. year, becauee of sevexe drought, taxation
clonces3sions were in'troduced to ancour-age primary producers to
increase -farm investment-in fodr-co-tR,' ation. This.-yea-rl there
were generous and muich needed concessions for water
-conservation and farm, based irrigation prograzrnes.
Tax averaging works to assist farmers in contrast to the-old
schemei which penal ised -farmers and pastoxalists when'-Incomes
were falling. -Income equalisation deposits, which no . w caxry an.
interest of 7 per cent, also help producers sm~ ooth out
f Itictuations in -their income. Th,, petroleum f reight equalization
sche~ me was brought back, at a u-etannual cost of over
120 million, to help. in eliminating the freight differential
betwe-en city and country marketing.
Bunt~ aswer retord., toproducersfor. superphoaphdtq
fertiliser..; Marketing arrangevents -for wheat and for the fruit
Industries were improved. the woo], floor price, which Labor
tried to reduce to 200 cents, is now at a record level of
365, cents. Small cotmtry aiin. oat. sare being assisted
and the new -satellite will greatly assist in rurzal communications
in many different ways. PAni inquiry into the adequac-y of
tax has recently1 been annotunced by the Treasurer.
A drive was launched to regain the markets which Labor losqt.
Successful negotiations have talKen place with Japan and with
the United Statits, and some conceasions have even been won in
theclosed markets in Europe.-
Above all, keeping inflation down below that of m~ ajor competitors
and trading countxie-s overeas, restores the competitive position
of Australian primary produicers, enabling farmerg to take full
advantage of reasonable Beasons which have lifted rural exports
to record levels.
The gross value of rural productJ. Q. fo~ r th~ -average of the three
years ended 1980-81 is expected to be over 100 p'er cent-hiigher
than the average for the three years ended. in 1974-7S.

Rural exports have ibcreased substantially over the past
threey-vTd -tii-from $ 4.3 billion in. 1975-76 to $ 8A6 billion.
in 1979-80.
WheF-at b~ ecamue Australia's -largest export industry
In. 1979 also, the rural workforce increased by almost 16,000
the first increase in more than 30 yearn. Once : more pro~ ducers.
are investing in the future,.
The Cqjja nof.... Uia Wheat'Board recently said that if the current..'
rate of development in the Australian wheat industr-y continuea,
a doubling of Australia's wheat-cxop during-the next decade
is a likely prospect, and world de: ai ' sthere for it to be"
sold profitably.
There is , big investment taking place in cotton in NSW and**
Queensland, as well as coarse grains in tropical Western Australii&.
The Northern Terri tory Government is looking at -the possibility
of eat-ab-11_ zinqgrT&-ie agricultural industry, in ' co-Operation
with the Commonwealth. The Contnonwealth and Queenslana
Governments have decided to fund the massive Burclekink Dam in
northern Queensland.
These are exciting developments. Yet they could be dashed by
wrong and hostfle policies, as they were dashed once before.
A resure oL.-. nflation, a knuckling under to slhort-sigbted
trade-Thi7n demands against the export of sheep, new taxIes
on capital gains and'ont resources, the inevitable ire-imposition
of death duties, fuel policies which threaten the Security'of
oil supplies to Australia, could once more plunge Austraa-i
back into depression and destroy the work of the last five years.
I am confident that Australians will keep to the path of
comnmonsense, growth., responsibility and prosperity for Australia's
rural o'Aes-000-4
4 e 73

Transcript 5450