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Thursday, 19 June 2008
Page: 2889


Senator MINCHIN (7:57 PM) —I thought I had explained it, but I am happy to do so again. In our view, an individual who is capable of producing wheat in sufficient quantities to export their own wheat and not be reliant on an accredited exporter should, by definition, be able to do so. We fundamentally believe in free enterprise and we do not see any need for unnecessary regulation. Indeed, I thought that was one of the mantras of this government. They renamed my old department the Department of Finance and Deregulation. We are yet to see the evidence that would support such a change of name. Nevertheless, we also agree that regulation should only be imposed on Australians where it is absolutely necessary, and we see absolutely no necessity to impose on an individual grower, exporting their own wheat, the necessity to comply with provisions that are in there for the purpose of ensuring that growers who use accredited exporters, rather than export their own wheat, are properly protected.

This bill, to the government’s credit, does provide a lot of protection for growers using accredited exporters, but, by definition, there is no need for that if the grower is exporting their own wheat and not doing so through an accredited exporter. That is the purpose. To ensure that those relevant provisions do not apply to a grower exporting their own wheat, we have followed the expert advice of the draftsman and attached (4) to (6) to proposed clause 86A, because, by definition again, the act does not apply to someone exporting wheat in bags or containers. We think, therefore, by definition, that the same exemptions from the operation of the act should apply not only to someone exporting wheat in bags or containers but also to an individual producer exporting their own wheat. Of course, with respect to the matter of whether it is their own wheat, any grower who tries to cheat the law by setting themselves up as an exporter to get around the act and export somebody else’s wheat is, by definition, breaking the law, and they will bear the full consequences of so doing—just as anybody else who breaks the law in this country does. We do not believe that you should set up some sort of police-state mechanism to check everybody’s wheat, but the individual wheat grower will know that they will be breaching the law should they attempt to export anybody else’s wheat other than their own.