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Tuesday, 4 September 1984
Page: 432

(Question No. 798)

Senator Missen asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment, upon notice, on 3 April 1984:

(1) Do the findings of the Woodward Royal Commission into the Australian Meat Industry prove that the malpractices arising from the kangaroo industry were seriously threatening the export market for other meat products.

(2) Would the rest of the meat industry in Australia be easily able to supply any meat which would be required by the elimination of the existing kangaroo commercial operators.

(3) Was the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment expressing the Labor Party's policy on kangaroo issues when in 1980 he said that ''it is up to the Government to provide the nation with an effective monitoring campaign that meets the standard acceptable to conservation groups and farming interests alike ''.

(4) Does the Minister and the Government continue to support that view; if so, why is the Minister now publicly accusing conservationists of 'hypocrisy, distortion, dishonesty, deceit and evil' when they continue their campaign.

Senator Ryan —The Minister for Home Affairs and Environment has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The Hon. Mr Justice Woodward took evidence on the substitution of export meat with uninspected pet food, including kangaroo, during the Royal Commission into the Australian Meat Industry.

The Royal Commissioner, in his summary of major issues, said that he had not been asked to consider what effect the serious level of commercial malpractice may have had on the export meat industry itself or on Australia's reputation as a trading nation. He added, in any event, this would be difficult to judge in the absence of any knowledge of the meat industries of other countries.

(2) No official statistics are published on the level of kangaroo meat production or consumption in Australia. However, production is likely to be small in relation to total Australian meat production of some 2.5 million tonnes annually. In 1982/83, exports of kangaroo meat were around 1,300 tonnes compared with total meat exports in excess of 1.1 million tonnes.

In quantity terms there is no doubt that the Australian beef and sheepmeat industries could fill any gap in the market left by the withdrawal of kangaroo meat. However, this would depend on the end use to which the kangaroo meat is presently being put, quality and price considerations.

(3) Yes. A national kangaroo monitoring unit has been established.

(4) Yes. Responsible conservation organisations generally recognise the need for some form of culling. Regrettably some irresponsible individuals and groups resort to such approaches as those referred to. The correct quote was 'some conservation groups' not 'all'. Please do not deliberately try to distort what I said.