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Thursday, 31 May 1984
Page: 2298


Senator BOSWELL(10.10) —I have probably another seven or eight questions that I want to ask the Minister.


Senator Walsh —I misunderstood the honourable senator. I thought he was waiting for a reply.


Senator BOSWELL —Would the Minister accept those questions as being on notice?


Senator Walsh —Yes.


Senator BOSWELL —I seek leave to have them incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The questions read as follows-

BEEF TRADE

(1) What is the timetable for current beef negotiations with Japan?

(2) Will these negotiations re-commence on June 12?

(3) Who will represent Australia at these negotiations?

(4) Which department or departments will be represented at these negotiations?

(5) Will any Ministers be present for part or all of these negotiations?

(6) Have the Japanese made a firm offer to Australia for the 1984 fiscal year?

(7) What is the current percentage of the Japanese beef quota market held by Australia?

(8) Would it be correct to say that if this percentage figure drops in the current negotiations, that Australia's tonnage exports of beef to Japan would drop sharply if there was a general fall in demand for beef by Japan? In other words, if we have failed to maintain our share of the market in the face of the new U.S./Japan deal, then will this lead to proportionally greater losses in Australia's beef trade to Japan if there is a general downturn in demand?

(9) Did the Anthony/Okawara agreement expire on March 31 last year?

(10) What action was taken by Australian Government representatives to negotiate an ongoing agreement with Japan over beef trade?

(11) Did the Minister for trade visit Japan late last year?

(12) Did he raise the future of Australia's beef market share with the Japanese Government during that visit?

(13) Did he visit Japan at any other time after taking office in March last year?


Senator BOSWELL —I also have a series of questions on coal which I would like incorporated in the Hansard.

Leave granted.

The questions read as follows-

COAL

(1) What is the level of prices achieved for hard coking coal sales to Japan for the coming 12 months?

(2) What was the procedure for companies to negotiate their prices with Japanese buyers for the coming year?

(3) Does the Government exercise any controls over these negotiations?

(4) What is the procedure for coal contract applications once they have been submitted to the department?

(5) How long does it take the department to process these applications?

(6) Do these contracts go to the Minister for approval?

(7) If so, how long on average does the present minister take to sign these contracts?

(8) How does this compare with the time taken to sign contracts and return them to the department under the previous minister?

(9) Have there been any delays which have jeopardised contract sales?