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Thursday, 11 November 1976

Mr BAUME (Macarthur) -The other day some discussion took place in this chamber about the profitability of meat companies. I know that members of the Opposition take the view that profits are something disgraceful and should not be earned by anybody. In particular, the honourable member for Fraser (Mr Fry) made some comments about a company-

Mr SPEAKER -Order! If the honourable member refers to a debate that has already taken place in the House, he will be out of order. He can speak about the subject generally but he must not refer to the debate.

Mr BAUME -Thank you, Mr Speaker. The question of profitability of meat companies is, of course, particularly interesting and was intruded, if I might say so, into a debate with which it had nothing at all to do. It seems unfortunate that that intrusion into a debate on another subject should inhibit me in this way. Nevertheless, I point out that the profitability of meat companies has been spoken of here and in other places as being something disgraceful and tables of great length and significance and complication have been presented here and elsewhere. There has been an immense amount of discussion before the Australian Meat Board recently about quota programs and quota plans. These discussions have tended to point out that some companies have been making profits, and profit is a naughty word.

I simply point out that the company of which I am a director has done this disgraceful thing. It has, in fact, made a profit. I wonder whether this is the sort of profit that it has been claimed to be by some people. It has been alleged, for example, that this profit is huge; it has been described as such. The fact, which is readily available to the Australian people, is that the company involved releases an annual report which is made public. This report is available to people if they want to know the facts about this industry. It is a report which very fully describes not only the amount of profit earned but also the amount of work done to earn the profit, and the amount of funds employed in earning that profit. These facts are totally overlooked by people who like to attack companies of this type. They show that in the latest year the profit of this company, Tancred Bros. Industries Ltd, represented a return of less than one-half of one per cent per pound of products sold.

I might say to the honourable member for Fraser that not even the chicken industry is as bad as that. The table which was presented concerning the profits of this company, for example, suggests that in the period from 1968-69 to 1975-76, the amount of profit, in real terms, has doubled. What the table does not show is that the volume of production has increased by 4 times so that the profits of the company, at its present rate of production, have been cut in half over that period, to the significant benefit of cattle producers.

The company has, in fact, reinvested as much as possible of its profits into expanding its investment to deal as cheaply and as efficiently as possible with the cattle that is processed, for the benefit of cattle producers. The company has a great deal of concern for cattle producers. If the cattle producers did not exist, the company would have no product to process. There is a great Unking, a great understanding and a great community of interest which not even the efforts of gentlemen opposite can break down between the processing and the cattle producing sections of this nation. Unless the cattle producers survive the processing industries Will not survive. It is nonsense to describe the profits of the processors as huge. They are reinvesting those profits for the benefit of the producer.

Mr LesMcMAHON (Sydney) (10.49)- I refer to the Australian Assistance Plan which the Australian Labor Government instituted in 1974. In July 1977 there will be a change in the structure of this scheme. If this worthy scheme survives and if the State government, under the new federalism pOliCY of the Government, receives the finance, I shall work to help the needy and other residents of the electorate of Sydney.

Last Friday night, 5 November, I was invited to a meeting of the Inner Sydney Regional Council for Social Development at Chippendale. The Council released a report for the period from 1974 to 76. 1 must congratulate the local councils in the area: the City of Sydney Municipal Council, the Leichhardt Municipal Council, the Marrickville Municipal Council, the South Sydney Municipal Council and the Botany Municipal Council. The contents of the first report for 1974-1976 include the election of officers, the Chairman's report, activities such as the family support program, housing, planning and community structures, and reports from South Sydney, the City of Sydney, Leichhardt, the staff, the treasurer and a financial statement. The theme of the office bearers was survival, but after reading the report and being involved at the general meeting I must congratulate them for the work in supplying this Government with the necessary data for future improvement and involvement in the Sydney electorate. The Chairman's report sums up the feeling of the meeting. It reads:

It gives me great pleasure to present this report of our Council's work over the last thirty months highlighting our aims and achievements. As I have only been Chairman for a short period I feel almost as if I am imposing my view on what so many of you know so well, I therefore intend it to be very brief.

I must start by saying that if there is one thing we have learned over the last few months, as we see ourselves being gently swept under the carpet by both Federal and State Governments, it is that we have not blown our trumpets loud enough.

I would draw your attention to the activities outlined in this report and would ask politicians reading it if they would pass on to their colleagues the contents of these reports. For if ever there was a short sighted policy, it is not realising the immense work that the AAP has been able to do, particularly in the Inner City, at such minimal costs.

It has acted as a liaison between Government Departments, agencies, parliament itself and particularly in helping the residents express their wishes and desires. So I would just like to briefly draw your attention to some of the areas in which the Regional Council has been most effective.

The rehabilitation Seminar (within our Housing Activities) drew participants from as far afield as South Australia with a representative of the South Australian Housing Trust here to snow us how their admirable program is working. This was a most effective Seminar in which a great number of people were drawn together to discuss the potentials of rehabilitation. The papers have now been published and are available at the Regional Council Office.

Within the housing ambit, we have been able to liaise with the Housing Commission and the Residents of Waterloo in setting up the Residents' Committee. These are remarkable achievements indeed.

The work that is going on in Woolloomooloo is well known to everyone and our CDO in that area is preparing a book on the 'Loo. She has also been an active facilitator in other areas such as housing for the rehabilitation of alcoholic women.

In family care we have highlighted many aspects of problems in the Inner City. It might be argued that we were among the initiators of the Child Care Program within South Sydney, and we have co-operated with many group as well as the Council in seeing that the people of South Sydney were able to express their views. Our Project Officer has indeed worked hard and tenaciously for well over eighteen months in this field. She has opened avenues whereby child bashing problems can be examined

So much is said in this report that I shall have to select some of the Chairman's remarks. He said:

A series of Tenants' Rights Workshops were held by Robert Mowbray under the co-sponsorship of Shelter N.S.W. and the Regional Council. These have been of immense value to people working or living in the area. The furtherance of these lectures at the local level have readily been welcomed in Darlinghurst, Kings Cross, Surry Hills and Glebe. His knowledge is slowly becoming part of the communities knowledge.

Let us protect the vision of people having an organisation through which they could be heard. To help with submissions, to explain bureaucratic jargon, to give them resources so that they have a voice of their own.

If this is lost it will be to the shame of the Federal Government, and the newly elected State Government. In winding up I would like to urge -

Mr SPEAKER - You have wound up. The honourable member's time has expired.

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