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Tuesday, 18 May 1965

Senator ANDERSON - Because of the very strict quarantine requirements of the Department of Health, in order to prevent the spread of disease, it is possible to import potatoes into Australia only for processing purposes. Some potatoes have been imported into the ports of Sydney and Melbourne for processing purposes. It is important to remember that the quarantine requirements necessitate some examination of the residue after the potatoes have been processed. Consequently, it is not possible to permit the entry of potatoes through other ports. I want to make that point particularly clear because representations have been made by processing firms seeking to import potatoes from New Zealand through ports other than Melbourne and Sydney. Very stringent conditions exist in relation to the importation of potatoes.

As to the quantity of potatoes that has been allowed to come into Australia, speaking off the cuff and subject to correction, I think it is about 6,000 tons. Owing to the climatic conditions that have prevailed in Australia there might well be a shortage of potatoes during the coming months. But the question of the importation of potatoes other than for processing purposes would have to be very carefully examined and due regard would have to be paid to the requirements of the Department of Health. I see no prospect of importers being allowed to import potatoes into Australia for other than processing purposes.

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