The aim of this thesis is to assess the effectiveness of the Rural Reconstruction Scheme in assisting a small group of primary producers in the Charleville district, towards long term economic viability. Also a number of side issues are considered, including the role of the Scheme in hastenning the movement by woolgrowers into beef cattle production.
Because of the difficulty of measuring the actual effect of the Rural Reconstruction Scheme on economic viability, a 'control' was adopted. Changes in economic viability for producers assisted through the Scheme were therefore compared against the performance of a similar group of producers who had applied for assistance, but did not receive assistance through the Scheme.
It should be pointed out that the size of the sample of primary producers included in the study - eight - necessarily restricts the general applicability of any conclusions reached. However, the thesis is useful both as a pilot study, and in highlighting a number of problem areas which have developed within the pastoral industries of Western Queensland.
In terms of the viability framework developed in this thesis, it is concluded, (albeit with important qualifications) that the Rural Reconstruction Scheme has on average, assisted the selected group of primary producers towards long term economic viability. However, individual producers within this group are in quite desperate economic circumstances.
It was found that the payment of debt servicing commitments has proven an insurmountable obstacle for three of the eight producers surveyed. Income generated by these three producers, over the period 1971-1976, was insufficient to service the debts on the properties. As a result, the owners have increased the debt level, in order to remain in operation. The collected data would appear to suggest that rising debt levels have, as their source, an inadequate income generating capacity. In this regard it is demonstrated that, for the group of producers surveyed, there is a negative correlation between the level of debt per head of stock and the level of income generated per head of sotck.