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Wednesday, 15 March 1961

Mr McEWEN (MURRAY, VICTORIA) (Minister for Trade) - As the honorable member is aware, I answered a question last week addressed to me by the honorable member for Mitchell on this subject. A number of other members on both sides of the House have concerned themselves with this problem. In the first place, the problem concerns the competition offered to local processors of chicken by imported canned chicken, and of course, any trouble there has its repercussions on the producers of chickens for processing. The local processors and, I understand, the producers of chickens, came to the Department of Trade last January and sought to make a case, but the case was not convincing and the industry was asked to provide further information. That information not being forthcoming, I asked the department to send officers into the field to help the industry to assemble the facts upon which a case could be made. Officers of the department are engaged in this work in Victoria and in New South Wales at the present time. In this case, therefore, the Government has taken the initiative ahead of the industry itself. I expect that there will be a report from these officers and I would expect a meeting, again, between the Department of Trade and representatives of the industry in the near future. Action will be taken on the facts that are revealed.

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