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Thursday, 3 December 1936

Senator BRENNAN (Victoria) (Assistant Minister) . - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

This bill is designed to effect amendments to the Wine Overseas Marketing Act, in accordance with the provisions of which the Wine Overseas Marketing Board was established in 1929 for the purpose of controlling the export of wine from Australia and regulating the supply of Australian wines on overseas markets. The board's functions are similar to those of the other export control hoards, dealing with dried fruits, canned fruits, dairy produce and meat. The Wine Overseas Marketing Board consists of one member appointed by the GovernorGeneral as the Commonwealth Government representative, two members elected to represent co-operative wineries and distilleries, and five members elected to represent proprietary and privatelyowned wineries - two for South Australia, one for Victoria, one for Western Australia, and one jointly representing New South Wales and Queensland.

During the last few years there have been many matters associated with wine marketing upon which there have been differences of opinion in the industry, and - it has not 'been found possible to compose these differences by conferences arranged by the industry itself. In recent months these difficulties, having become more pronounced, special representations were made by the Federal Viticultural Council that steps should be taken with a view to bringing about an improved condition of affairs. Accordingly, a conference was held in Canberra last week which was fully representative of all sections of the industry. This conference considered fully, and came to agreement on, a number of matters closely concerning the industry, including the policy to be followed in regard to the fixation of minimum prices for wine exported to the United Kingdom, the relation thereto of the wine export bounty, the conduct of research and propaganda, and the reconstitution of the Marketing Board.

The purpose of this bill is to give effect to the recommendations of the conference regarding the re-constitution of the board. The only alteration proposed in the bill for the constitution of the Wine Board is the provision for representation of the grape-growers. Formerly grape-growers had no representative on the board, but the conference agreed that the growers should have a representative, and provision for this is made in the bill. This provision will enable the _ primary pro ducers in the industry to keep- in touch with the manufacturing and marketing aspects, and should lead to a better understanding between the growers and the wine makers.

The bill also provides for an alteration of the method of appointment to the board of representatives of various sections of the industry. In the past 'this has been done by election, whereas it is now proposed that the members shall be appointed by the Governor-General after nomination to the Minister' by the organizations concerned. The method of election previously provided for' was considered by the conference to be inappropriate from the point of view of the representation of those who are most vitally interested in the export trade. After considerable deliberations the conference recommended that the various organizations should nominate their representatives. The grape-growers' representative will be nominated to the Minister by the Federal Grapegrowers Council, and the two representatives of the co-operative wineries will be nominated by the Co-operative Wine Makers Association. Actually, in the past, these associations have never nominated more than two candidates, and it has not been necessary to have an election. It' is proposed in the bill that the representatives' of the proprietary and privately-owned wineries shall be nominated by the State organizations affiliated with the FederalViticultural Council. This' method was recommended by the conference, because the council has in its membership more than 90 per cent, of the wine-makers who are interested in the export trade. The representative of the Commonwealth Government will, as in the past, be appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister. The bill provides for the alteration of the name of the board to the Australian Wine Board. This is in accordance with the practice which has now been adopted in the naming of all export control boards, because it is the desire of the Australian Agricultural Council that all such boards shall become associated with it as advisory bodies in respect of the industries with which they are concerned.

The bill contains few other provisions. Section 13 of the principal act is pro- posed to be amended to provide that in the event of an officer of the Commonwealth Public Service being appointed as secretary or an officer of the newlyconstituted board, he shall preserve his existing and accruing rights in accordance with the Officers'Rights Declaration Act 1928-33. It is also proposed that the board shall be required to submit its annual report in September instead of in July. This is an important proposal in connexion with an important industry, and I commend it to the Senate.

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