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Thursday, 31 May 1984
Page: 2300

Senator WALSH (Minister for Resources and Energy)(10.21) —I recall that the Government guaranteed-I think that is the right term-a $3m loan some time ago to assist the company on the ground that if the guarantee was called up the industry would have to bear the ultimate cost. Other than that assistance, I am not aware whether anything else has been done. But, as Senator Archer has raised the question, I think it fair to comment, since I was involved at the time, that prior to the 1980 elections when Asia Dairy Industries (Hong Kong) Ltd was under investigation by a Senate committee the company had outlived the reason for its existence and ought to have been sold. That proposal was greeted in some self-interested circles with a shock-horror response. It is now perfectly clear that Australian dairy farmers and the Australian Dairy Corporation would have been considerably better off financially if that advice had been followed at that time. I gather, as no notes have been passed to me, that other than the $3m loan guarantee, no financial assistance has been provided by the Department of Primary Industry or the Government to the Corporation and its subsidiary in the present P.T. Indomilk problem.