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Thursday, 23 August 1984
Page: 258

Senator MACKLIN —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. I refer the Minister to Budget Paper No. 5 and ask whether he can explain why export inspection receipts will rise next year by 211 per cent. Since the amount to be paid by producers will increase from some $ 20m to over $63m, can the Minister explain why producers are also being asked to pay for 232 more executives in the Export Inspection Service at the same time as there is to be a drop of 32 inspectors who actually do the work?

Senator WALSH —I have not seen in the Budget Papers the reference to which Senator Macklin refers, so this must be taken as a provisional answer. I think the answer is because the collection of receipts due last year-that is, export inspection charges imposed on the industry-was delayed because of, among other things, the opportunistic actions of members of the official Opposition and the Australian Democrats in the Senate who deferred a purely technical Bill which had no contemporary relevance because they wanted to do a bit of political grandstanding out there in the electorate among people who were not fully aware of the facts. I think that is why there has been a big increase in the estimated receipts for this year. It is virtually 1 1/2 years' receipts collected as against half a year's receipts, for the reasons that I have given. That is because some people have resisted paying the levy which was due last year, encouraged by irresponsible senators in this place. I am not at all familiar with the matter raised in the second part of the question. I will have to refer it to the Minister for Primary Industry for reply.