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Thursday, 11 November 1976
Page: 2661

Mr BAUME (Macarthur) - I must say that I was intrigued to hear of the great interest of the honourable member for Wills ( Mr Bryant ) in at least the consumption of the products of the dairy industry. I have greater good fortune than he because I represent an electorate which covers Australia's greatest milk producing area. It is renowned, of course, for the development of the Illawarra Shorthorn, one of the great dairy cows of our nation, and it is renowned certainly as one of Australia's richest and best producers of milk. Unfortunately, this area is suffering, as are all dairying areas for one reason or another. Regrettably, the bulk of the reasons for its suffering can be laid at the door of changes in the milk quota structure within the State of New South Wales as a result of most unfair treatment by the New South Wales State Government.

However, having listened to the honourable member for Wills and the honourable member for McMillan (Mr Simon), there is no doubt that there is a desperate need for research to be applied not only to the maintenance of the quality of our dairy cattle but also to the use of milk protein, particularly in export markets. We have seen some endeavours to produce particular kinds of biscuits which can be sent overseas. Unfortunately, at the moment they are not all that palatable. I believe that unless we can establish some method of exporting milk in one form or another we are going to continue to have massive problems in our dairy industry. I hope very sincerely that a greater research effort will be directed towards finding appropriate methods of exporting protein to the millions of people around the world who the honourable member for Wills quite rightly pointed out are suffering from protein deficiency.

It strikes me that that is the sort of aid we should be looking at. We would be much better off spending in that way a lot of the money which appears to be going into curious hands, not only, for instance, in our local forms of relief, such as was done in Darwin under the previous Government. A lot of the money which goes overseas appears to be wasted in some of our aid efforts. I would much rather see a lot of this money directed towards stimulus in export sections of the dairy industry, say, so that we could provide real help to the people who are in need, the people who are actually starving.

Mr Martyr - From contented cows.

Mr BAUME -Yes, from contented cows, particularly in the Illawarra and South Coast regions of New South Wales. The problems which have emerged for the industry certainly desperately need immediate attention. As was recently pointed out, real farm incomes are collapsing all around Australia, particularly in the dairy industry. The gross market value of dairy products for the current financial year is forecast to fall by 5.5 per cent. Average yields will be reduced in southern dairy areas and the falling trend in cow numbers is expected to accelerate. Milk production is expected to decline by 12 per cent to S.S60 million litres, the lowest level since 1953-54. That is a great development, a great march forward! Our milk production is now down to the lowest level since 1953-54. The fall will be reflected in declines of over 20 per cent in the production of butter and skim milk powder and a slight concentration in cheese output. Fortunately, my electorate is heavily directed towards supplying whole milk to the Sydney milk zone.

Debate interrupted.

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