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Wednesday, 25 February 1987
Page: 574

Senator ELSTOB(10.43) —I object to the Australian Democrats amendment to clause 26 because it would be very restrictive. Australia is in an ideal situation. Many growers in this country are producing and exporting fruit and vegetables. If the legislation is amended in the way in which the Democrats want, it will not be of such great advantage to the export from Australia of new varieties of fruit and vegetables. In my State, South Australia, three years ago overseas airlines started carrying exports of fruit and vegetables. In three years they have reached an annual level of $10m.

The CHAIRMAN —Order! Senator Elstob, we are not considering the general merits of the plant variety rights legislation; we are looking at a specific amendment which deals with written notice of grants of plant variety rights being lodged and what is then done about them. That is the Australian Democrats amendment which the Committee is now discussing.

Senator ELSTOB —The written amendments would stop the development in this country of new varieties which are essential.

Senator Mason —Why should that be, just by informing the public?

Senator ELSTOB —That is simply not so. The varieties that can be exported may not be used in this country, and that is what we have got to get through to those honourable senators. They will be restricting the whole process. New industries could be developed because of this. The Democrats' amendments will simply hamstring the whole thing.

Senator Macklin —Give somebody information; that is what we will do.

Senator ELSTOB —It is not that at all, and the honourable senator is fully aware of it. I believe that the Government and the Opposition are absolutely correct on this. I believe that this Bill should go through and that further delay will only restrict the business that could be created by the passage of this Bill, and I support it.