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Wednesday, 22 August 1979
Page: 463


Mr LLOYD (Murray) -Government supporters who are in any way connected with agriculture would very much welcome these changes to the Quarantine Act. There are two significant sections. There is the question of compensation and the question of powers for quarantine officers. I am very pleased, and I believe that all those connected with agriculture in Australia would be pleased, that at last there is a settled procedure for obtaining compensation. There may have to be some significant decisions for the slaughter of whole herds of livestock and perhaps even districts will have to be sealed off if we are to control some diseases, but those in the farming community who may be involved must have confidence that any procedure that is enacted will provide fair compensation. I understand that the United Kingdom has a very good and comprehensive compensation scheme and that ours in many ways will reflect that scheme. It is important that there be a defined market value and assessment procedure and an arbitrator arrangement if this cannot be settled through what I will call the ordinary market procedure arrangement. I understand that that is also part of the Act.

There is the question of regularising provisions for warrant for quarantine officers. At present they do not have such powers. They are available to Customs officers but not to quarantine officers. I think there are safeguards in the sense that warrants have to be issued in the normal way and if any prosecution is likely the officers have to be accompanied by a police officer. So really in relation to that matter it is just a question of making the powers of the quarantine officer similar to the powers of the Customs officer. There are limits to what can be done in that regard. Those aspects of the legislation would also be welcomed. The Minister for Health (Mr Hunt) announced recently that a new leaflet will be provided, I think in 15 languages, giving reasons why we need animal and plant quarantine in this country. These pamphlets will be provided when a person wishing to visit Australia is issued with a visa or entry permit. This particular proposal has been under consideration by the Government for about four or five years now. It has been part of policies and has been mentioned in election statements. I am very pleased that the Minister has been able to bring this to fruition and that he has proposed these changes to the quarantine Act.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.







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