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Wednesday, 5 October 1983
Page: 1375


Mr McVEIGH(4.37) —by leave-I move:

(1) Clause 6, page 4, at the beginning of proposed sub-section 24A (4) insert ' Subject to sub-section 8,'

(2) Clause 6, page 4, at the end of proposed section 24A add the following sub- section:

'' '(8) The Minister, with respect to the Australian dairy industry's investment in overseas companies- (a) shall not give a direction to the Corporation under sub-section (4); and

(b) shall, in consultation with the Corporation, the Australian Dairy Industry Conference and the Australian Dairy Farmers Federation, examine all options available for the meeting of losses incurred by means of investments of this kind, with recourse to use of moneys held in export pools being considered only as a last resort.'.''.

In my speech in the cognate second reading debate I indicated the concern of industry about what might happen concerning any future losses in what is generally called the PT Australia Indonesia Milk Industries situation. There is very grave concern in the industry, among manufacturers and dairy farmers, as to their legal entitlements particularly because any debts of PT Indomilk are not clear cut. Some could be what might be termed investments and some could be what might be called trading losses. Quite obviously the trading losses should quite rightly be debited to the export pool. But in the case of investments the industry believes that export pools should be used only as a last resort and that credit moneys for even the disposal of assets and the Australian Dairy Corporation's share in any investment company should be disposed of prior to pools being used for what we might term loss on investments.

It is the Opposition's opinion, after meaningful consultation with many sections of the industry, that the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Kerin) should not automatically have the power to direct that pools bear the brunt of this deficit but that consultation should be held with the Corporation, the Australian Dairy Industry Conference and the Australian Dairy Farmers Federation to examine all options available to meet the losses incurred by means of investments of the kind referred to and the appropriate measures made rather than rushing in at the first instance and using pool funds. For those reasons I have moved the two amendments. The first amendment is merely a formality drawing attention to the fact that that clause is to be read subject to proposed new section 24A. The second amendment-the substantial amendment-is what one might term proposed new section 24A which gives legal expression to the points of view I expressed not only in my speech in the second reading debate but also in the Committee debate.