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Monday, 24 May 1965

Senator ANDERSON (New South Wales) (Minister for Customs and Excise) . - in reply - I thank honorable senators for their comments on the Bills. With the cooperation of honorable senators, they are to be given a speedy passage. Senator Kennelly asked a question about the levy. He asked in effect, who determines whether the amount charged will be the maximum amount or something less than the maximum. I point out in reply to him that the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) has the benefit of the advice of the Australian Dairy Produce Board. He has not necessarily to accept that advice; he makes the ultimate decision.

A question was raised as to the differential that occurs as a result of the marrying of the two levies. I am advised that the increase will amount to approximately £140,000. The application of the two levies has been most complex. To give an idea of the difficulty involved, I point out that the export levy on butter is 9/ 28th of a penny per lb. and on ghee it is 45/112ths of a penny. The research levy on cheese is 3/32nds of a penny. As a result of the marrying of the two levies, it is proposed that the operative rate of levy will be 5s. per cwt. of butter fat, with a ceiling of 6s. As has been pointed out, that decision was taken by the Minister for Primary Industry.

Senator Kennellyraised a very interesting question as to the pattern of usage of the products of this industry. He said that there may be a number of reasons for the fall in the home consumption of these products. He referred to the possible effect of price, the availability of various other foods and also the health aspect. I should be inclined to agree with him in relation to the last two matters, but I am not so certain about the price factor. When all is said and done, ' price is related right across the board to our way of life and our standard of living. Australia's tremendous immigration programme has brought about a change in the demand for foods. Margarine is used to a greater extent. A great number of people use fats other than butter fat because they have become used to them. We must accept that situation. The need exists for quite a vigorous promotion programme, which is inherent in the legislation before us. Part of the levy is to be spent on a promotion programme.

I do not wish to enter into a discussion on the effects of animal fats on heart conditions.It has not yet been proved that animal fats have a detrimental effect upon health. Some publicity has been given in that respect and the position must be looked in the eye. The industry is facing up to the situation and must be placed in a position where it can develop its promotion programme to keep pace with its competitors. I am sure that all honorable senators, including the Opposition, believe that this is good legislation and that the promotion of the industry will result.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.

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