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Wednesday, 17 October 1984
Page: 1918


Senator ARCHER(10.27) —The dairy industry internationally is in trouble as it is in Australia, except that our costs are higher, our inputs are considerably more expensive than, for instance, those of New Zealand, Canada or the European Economic Community and we do not have the same back-up that they have to dispose of them. But we will still go ahead on this basis.

I make some comments about the egg legislation. I believe it would be quite inappropriate at this stage if we were to pass the three egg Bills without one word of debate, as happened in the House of Representatives. I found it quite extraordinary that the passing of the Australian Egg Board, which had operated very diligently since 1946, did not even rate one word of debate in the other chamber. I think it would be quite inappropriate just to wipe it off without some comment of recognition. The Egg Board has not been without its problems over many years. There have been wild fluctuations in the prices and supplies and overseas market problems have always been there, but the Board, with all its imperfections, has achieved a considerable degree of stabilisation and ironed out many of the problems that have arisen from time to time. It went through a period when the changes in the breeding, feeding and management of poultry made a considerable difference to the way in which the industry worked. I believe that the Board deserves at least a mention at this time when we are just passing it out of existence.

The other two egg Bills perpetuate the stupidity of placing taxes on products that we are really struggling to get into a niche in the world scene. The history of the Australian egg industry is built on the difficulties of meeting markets because of our high costs and low returns. As far as I am concerned, this legislation will ensure only that the status quo is totally maintained.

I will speak for about one minute on the Live-stock Slaughter (Export Inspection Charge) Validation Bill. Debate on this matter has been going on since May. I am unable to see why we should continue to place the jobs of so many people in jeopardy and how we have come to fall for newspaper comments about how good the Bill is for the farmers and how well off they are. Undoubtedly, the debate gave the Government the impression that it would be able to tax producers without a whimper.

Debate interrupted.