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Stabilization schemes for the Australian wheat industry, or marketing schemes as they are now called, first came into existence in 1914 when the Commonwealth Government exercised powers under the War Precautions Act and set up an Australian Wheat Board to acquire the crop, fix purchase prices, allocate shipping and make advance payments to growers on delivery of wheat. This first scheme was replaced by voluntary co-operatives and private trading between the two World Wars. A new Australian Wheat Board was set up again in 1939. The experience from compulsory pools during the two World Wars, incorporating the payment of fixed prices, help growers appreciate some of the advantages of centralised marketing and encouraged them to seek a compulsory national marketing scheme after the Second World War. Growers did not want a return to the depressed conditions of the 1930's and perceived that the Australian Wheat Board would protect them from the vagaries of the international market. Thus, in 1948, national marketing schemes for wheat became a permanent feature of Australian rural policy with the commencement of the first Stabilization Plan covering the five-year period 1948/49 to 1952/53. Currently, we are in the 7th Plan, with an 8th Stabilization Scheme to commence in 1984/85, if, as I expect, Federal Parliament endorses a new scheme.


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