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Abstract

1988 and 1989 saw a strong continuation of the 1987 rural recovery. Australia's emphasis on international agricultural trade reform also dominated domestic policy, which was concerned with complementary microeconomic efficiency reforms. The most significant developments in this vein were the reform of the marketing arrangements for the wheat and sugar industries. The government continued the "deal" it had made with the rural sector for rationalisation of rural assistance in return for reforms of industries affecting the rural sector's input and export costs. The slow pace of these corresponding reforms in the transport infrastructure and manufacturing industry sectors meant that the truce between the farm organisations and the Labor government was increasingly fragile by the end of 1989. The major intermittent "political" agenda item to emerge in the review period was the conservation issue.

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