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Thursday, 18 October 1984
Page: 2009


Senator MACKLIN(6.26) —by leave-I move the following amendments to the Canned Fruits Marketing Amendment Bill 1984:

1. Page 2, paragraph 3 (f), line 21, leave out '7', insert '10'.

2. Page 5, clause 8, proposed new sub-section 21A (1), line 8, leave out '3', insert '5'.

3. Page 5, clause 8, proposed new sub-section 21B (1), line 21, leave out 'the date of its approval by the Minister', insert:

'-

(a) the date of its approval by the Minister; or

(b) 1 July 1985,

whichever is the later'.

4. Page 7, sub-clause 9 (1), lines 29 to 41, leave out the sub-clause.

5. Page 8, sub-clause 9 (4), lines 15 to 17, leave out the sub-clause.

6. Pages 8 and 9, clause 10, line 18 (page 8) to line 6 (page 9), leave out the clause.

7. Page 9, clause 11, lines 7 to 24, leave out the clause.

8. Page 9, paragraph 13 (1) (a), lines 30 to 33, leave out the paragraph.

9. Page 10, sub-clause 13 (2), lines 10 to 14, leave out the sub-clause.

These amendments deal with a number of issues, and they can be taken together because they are interrelated. They basically concern the Australian Canned Fruits Corporation. The effect of the first two amendments would be to increase the length of the Corporation's existence from three years to five years. The industry itself feels that for the Corporation to be effective in the next short period it would need a five-year span. The reason for that is that the Corporation is to go out of existence and before it does so it is required to draw up a corporate plan. If one thinks of the practicalities of the matter, it is likely that the vast bulk of the three years set down by the Bill is likely to be used up in considering what will happen after the Corporation ceases to operate. The industry believes that a five-year period is probably the minimum time necessary to do anything productive, and after all five years is consistent with the policy that the Government has adopted in other primary industry areas. For example, we have just debated the wheat marketing legislation in which the operation is over five years, and of course we also passed the Australian Meat and Live-stock Corporation Amendment Bill earlier this year.

The next group of amendments refers to the relationship between the Minister and the Corporation. Amendment No. 3 would delete the part of proposed new section 21B (1) which reads 'the date of its approval by the Minister' and insert instead:

(a) the date of its approval by the Minister; or

(b) 1 July 1985,

whichever is the later.

This is in keeping with the Australian Meat and Live-stock Corporation legislation, in which the identical terms appear; that is, that the approval of corporate plans is not totally at the discretion of the Minister. In the Bill, proposed new section 21B (1) states that the corporate plan 'shall not come into force until the date of its approval by the Minister', so it does not give much power at all to the Corporation.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.


Senator MACKLIN —Before the suspension of the sitting I was speaking to my amendments, which deal basically with the Australian Canned Fruits Corporation. The first group of amendments, Nos 1 and 2, deals with a three-year or five-year period of time. The Bill lays down a three-year period and my amendments seek to extend that period by two years to allow the Corporation to engage in other activities before it brings down the corporate plan. The third amendment to which I was speaking before the suspension deals with the corporate plan over which, as the the Bill currently stands, the Minister would have total control. Proposed new section 21B (1) lays down that the corporate plan 'shall not come into force until the date of its approval by the Minister'. That is in contradistinction to the Australian Meat and Live-stock Corporation Amendment Bill which was passed earlier this year and in relation to which the corporate plan was not to come into force until the date of its approval by the Minister or the date of commencement of the period to which it relates, whichever is the later.

In the present situation no time limit is set down at which the corporate plan is to come into operation, irrespective of its approval by the Minister. The Corporation is funded entirely by industry funds. To allow the Minister to have the ultimate say in its plans surely must be the first step, possibly a large step, along the road to the control of the Corporation entirely by the Government, and yet I emphasise that the corporation itself is funded by the growers. That seems to be an odd type situation. If the Minister did not approve the corporate plan, our amendment would bring it into effect on 1 July 1985, which is consistent with the Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation legislation.

The last group of amendments deals with the position of Deputy Chairperson of the Corporation, a post which this legislation creates for the first time. The Corporation has survived since 1979 without a deputy and we feel that, if the Government considers this change to be necessary, it should either move appropriate amendments to recreate this position or, alternatively, support our amendments now and introduce amending legislation after the election. The industry itself does not feel that the creation of the position of Deputy Chairperson is so important that the rest of the legislation to which it has objection should be passed. I seek a response from the Minister on these propositions, particularly the problem I raised about the three-year period and the problem of the control over the corporate plan.