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Thursday, 18 October 1984
Page: 2014

Senator GRIMES (Minister for Social Security)(8.43) —With respect, I think Senator Macklin is overstating his case just a little. I understand that it costs over $100 to slaughter a beast.

Senator Macklin —What about the profit margin?

Senator GRIMES —I am talking about the costs involved in killing and exporting a beast.

Senator Boswell —It costs about $12.

Senator GRIMES —I am talking about what it costs per beast. The honourable senator is talking about knocking off 2.4c per kilogram per beast on a much larger sum of money. I do not pretend to be an expert on these matters like some honourable senators opposite.

Senator Watson —You are getting expert advice.

Senator GRIMES —I am getting expert advice and I believe that more than I believe the honourable senator. As Senator Macklin has said, the effect in essence of eliminating this charge for two years will be a cost to the revenue of $28m. It is as simple as that. If it costs the revenue $28m the Government will not be prepared to reduce the slaughter charge from $4.35 to $2.55 per beast equivalent. The Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Kerin) has made that clear; the Government has made that clear. I point out that the amount Senator Macklin is trying to eliminate is very small in terms of the total cost of preparing a beast for export. In that situation I do not believe and my advisers do not believe that it will have a catastrophic effect in all the country towns that Senator Macklin has said he goes to and talks to people.