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Thursday, 4 December 1986
Page: 3356

Senator POWELL(12.53) —The Australian Democrats will be supporting this legislation. These Bills will restructure the statutory pig industry organisations by replacing the existing Pork Promotion Committee with an Australian Pork Corporation. The new Corporation will take over the existing functions of the Pork Promotion Committee. These functions will be expanded by this legislation to include improving the production and sale of pork and pigs in Australia and encouraging, assisting and promoting the export of pork products from Australia. The Bill also establishes an Australian Pig Industry Policy Council to advise the Minister for Primary Industry on issues affecting the industry.

The Australian pig and pig meat industry has increased the gross value of its product by over 250 per cent since 1974-75 and over the same period domestic pork consumption has risen from 12.9 kilograms per capita to over 17 kilograms per capita. Currently the market for Australian pork is predominantly domestic, with only 2 per cent of production exported. It seems likely that the Australian Pork Corporation to be set up by this legislation will be able to help Australian pig producers achieve greater efficiency in methods of production and provide overseas marketing and promotion assistance to them so that more Australian pork is exported. This would certainly assist our balance of trade problems. We are aware that there are some concerns in some areas of this legislation, but we note that the decision on the industry structure is a result of discussion with the industry on a range of options. We commend the industry and the Government for arriving at a suitable resolution, as represented by this legislation and the establishment of the new Australian Pork Corporation. We commend and support the Bills.