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Monday, 11 May 1987
Page: 2930

Mr CUNNINGHAM(5.52) —I would like to make a few comments in this debate in relation to the comments made by the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Tim Fischer), who spoke in relation to the dairy industry and to the changes in this legislation. He also made some comments in relation to the New South Wales dairy industry and the Victorian dairy industry, with special reference to Midland dairies. He tried to put on the record in the House that I was making certain statements in relation to the industry, so I want to put on the record what I really believe in relation to this, and not to have on the record the comments of the honourable member for Farrer as to what I allegedly said.

Whilst I do support the moves that were taken by Midland dairies in selling milk into New South Wales, I think they have to be put into their proper context. We hear a very strong case being put by members of the National Party of Australia in New South Wales in particular and in Queensland on behalf of their dairy industry. As a Victorian, of course I take a slightly different view to what they do in relation to it. What we have in Australia are two completely different structures of the dairy industry. Victoria has a structure which is identical to that of New Zealand, and of course New South Wales and Queensland are still operating a structure in their industry which is identical to that which Victoria had some 10 years ago but which has been phased out over that period. So what we are really looking at, if the members of the National Party are really concerned, is that there comes a time when change has to be recognised and has to take place over a steady period. In other words, industry in Victoria changed over a 10-year period. All that the Victorians are looking for at this stage is to see some pressure put on New South Wales to make it realise that if it does not change, and change progressively, to a more efficient practice in producing milk eventually it will hand the new Sydney and Brisbane markets across to the New Zealand industry, which is very efficient.

I know that what I am saying is slightly outside the scope of the legislation, the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill (No. 1) 1987, but I just wanted to put on the record that what we are looking at, as far as Victoria is concerned, and what I strongly support, is structuring the industries according to the realities of the markets and the competition. Henceforth, if people such as the honourable member for Farrer keep putting their heads in the sand and doing a South Africa on this issue, it will eventually be to the loss of their constituents. I just wanted to put on the record the facts as far as that is concerned. I strongly support the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Kerin) in his changes to these statutory authorities, in view of the necessity to put them on the record in such a way that they do work very effectively on behalf of all people-the consumers, the producers and the people who work in those factories.