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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Senator FRASER ("Western Australia) (Minister for External Territories) (6:20 AM) - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

This measure is introduced with the object of including in the Dairy Produce Export Control Act 1924-1938 provisions similar to those contained in other acts which govern the export and overseas marketing of Australian products. An examination of that act has shown that the general powers and functions of the Australian Dairy Produce Board, the body appointed to administer the act, are not clearly defined, although certain functions are clear. The Governor-General, however, is empowered to take certain action for the purpose of enabling the board effectively to control the export and the sale and distribution after export of Australian dairy produce such as butter and cheese, but such powers are limited.

The Dairy Produce Export Control Act 1935 was introduced for the purpose of amending the constitution of the then existing board so as -to extend its functions to include those performed by the Australian Dairy Council, which was a voluntary organization financed by a fee imposed, under the provisions of the Commerce (Export Dairy Produce) Regulations, on butter and cheese exported. That council took an active interest in the dairying industry and rendered financial assistance in certain instances to improve conditions associated with that industry. It was subsequently found that the powers of the Australian Dairy Produce Board were lacking in statutory authority to render assistance to the dairying industry in many directions, such as -

(a)   granting assistance in the establishment of State dairy colleges for the training of competent dairy operatives; (6) subsidizing a campaign fund for the advertising of Australian dairy produce; and (c) encouraging improved manufacture by contributing to funds of the Australian Institute of Factory Managers for competition; Tt is desired that the existing legislation should be amended in order that the board may not in any way be restricted in its activities.

Clause 2 gives to the board general powers which it does not at present possess, but which are considered essential for the satisfactory administration of the act. Authority for the payment of expenditure incurred by the board as a result of the general powers outlined is provided for in clause 3 and is in keeping with authority provided for in other export, control acts which relate to dried and canned fruits, meat, wine and fresh apples and pears.

Under existing war-time conditions, the organization of the dairying industry is being carried on with the assistance of a special committee which, however, is making extensive use of the staff and organization of the Australian Dairy Produce Board. For this reason, the Government desires that the statutory position of the board be clarified by the incorporation of these amendments.

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