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Thursday, 18 October 1984
Page: 2020


Senator PETER RAE(9.20) —As Senator Scott has said, the Meat Export Charge Bill is a Budget measure. I am delighted to hear the assurance that the Government has not only tried but also will continue in its efforts to avoid the duplication of the inspection process and will achieve a reduction in the cost impost which has been created as a result of that duplication. I do not believe that we will end the problems by any single action at this stage but rather we must encourage the Government to realise that many more problems exist in relation to this industry than appear to have been dealt with until now. This debate is an expression of, firstly, concern as to the future of the industry and, secondly, a hope for greater empathy from the Government with the problems being experienced than is evident at the moment.

Whilst the amendment is a nice way of expressing some sympathy, it does interfere with the fundamental entitlement of a government of the day to introduce its Budget measures and conduct its fund raising on a proper basis. If we spent a little more time on making the service more efficient, finding out where the sink is and where the losses are, probably we would be serving the interests of the industry far more effectively than we will be by continuing this debate. For that reason I support what Senator Scott has said. I deprecate the dumping on to our markets by the European Economic Community. I express my concern at the duplication which has taken place in the past, at the bureaucratic attitude towards the necessity for padded inspection services and padded recoveries, and at the confusion which exists in relation to how we cost recovery and how many people in various departments, as well as on the slaughterhouse or abattoir floor, are to be included in cost recovery operations . There does seem to be considerable confusion at the bureaucratic level, whichever government is in office. The amendment will not solve the problem but perhaps a bit of government sympathy and a bit of government activity, which might get the Department of Primary Industry to the nub of the problem, will solve it. I do hope that the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations may continue the inquiry which at one stage it was inclined to undertake into what is really happening in the industry. Perhaps it can even consider evidence from some of the people who have done a lot of work concerning what happens in this industry world-wide, from Argentina to Europe and from the United States to Australia. It may be that if we look in the Hong Kong direction we will find the real answer to the problems.