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Wednesday, 1 December 1976
Page: 3091

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

(1)   What are the procedures for the purchase of livestock, particularly dairy cattle, for foreign aid programs such as the sheep and cattle projects at Hissar in India.

(2)   What requirements are there to ensure that superior quality breeding stock are purchased, and that this assessment is genetically sound.

(3)   What procedures are there to check these requirements.

(4)   Are contracts let to purchasing agents purely on a commercial basis.

(5)   Has he considered the use of breed societies or expert organisations, such as the Victorian Artificial Breeders Society, in the place of private agents.

(6)   Has consideration been given to the use of proven semen at the Hissar cattle station in place of unproven pedigree bulls.

Mr Peacock - The answer to the honourable member's questions is as follows:

(1)   The purchase of livestock for Australian foreign aid projects is carried out under normal Government purchasing procedures in accordance with Treasury Regulations and Directions. Public tenders for the supply of animals to specifications provided are called, or agreed to, by the recipient government Tenders received are evaluated by suitably qualified livestock officers of government instrumentalities appointed by the Australian Development Assistance Agency for the purpose. Tenderers offering stock which meet the specifications are visited by the livestock officers where the nominated stock is inspected.

Recommendations for purchase, based on the conformity of the stock to the specifications and on relative price, are then considered by a tender board which selects the most appropriate tender. Contracts are issued accordingly.

(2)   Tender specifications, as agreed with the recipient government, state the breed, type, quality, pedigree, age and condition of the stock required. Pedigrees are established through records held by the appropriate breed societies and all stock purchased are physically examined before acceptance for shipment

(3)   See answers ( 1 ) and (2) above.

(4)   No. See answer ( 1 ) above.

(5)   Discussions are being held with the breed societies to agree upon a basis for their more active participation in the selection and examination of breeding stock.

(6)   The Hissar Cattle Project in India was developed for two reasons:

(i)   to develop a herd of cattle from which progeny tested bulls could be bred for distribution to selected State farms throughout India; and

(ii)   to use proven semen from Australia to maintain the breeding strength of the foundation herd supplied from Australia.

At the Hissar Project, there exists the largest herd of exotic cattle (Jersey and friesian) in India. To maintain the standard of the breeding herd it is intended to use a balance between natural service and artificial insemination using semen from top progeny tested bulls in Australia.

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