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Wednesday, 7 November 1973
Page: 1606


Senator WRIEDT (Tasmania) (Minister for Primary Industry) - I move:

That the Committee does not insist on the amendments disagreed to by the House of Representatives and agrees to the amendments made by the House of Representatives in place thereof.

As stated earlier, the Government is prepared to accept an amendment to this Bill to provide for the establishment of a Trust Account. However, while accepting the establishment of the Trust Account for meat inspection, it has been necessary to redraft the amendment passed by the Senate on 10 October in order to rectify certain deficiencies in that amendment. Furthermore, as the Government has not accepted the request to amend clause 6 of the Meat Export Charge Bill, it has also been necessary to make provision for payment into the Trust Account of moneys related to eradication of burcellosis and tuberculosis. The amendment passed by the Senate has been redrafted in respect of sections 3, 4b (a) and 4c (2).

In respect of section 3, following advice from the draftsman, a new definition to cover meat inspection services and related expenses has been substituted for the definition of 'export meat inspection costs'. The definition given in the Opposition's amendment was not considered by the draftsman to be adequate. In respect of sections 4b (a) and 4 (c)(2) redrafting has been necessary for the following reasons:

(i)   Section 4b (a) stated the funds collected from the charge were to be paid into the Trust Account. The correct procedure is for the funds collected from the charge, which are paid into Consolidated Revenue, to be appropriated from Consolidated Revenue to the Trust Account. In view of the Opposition's concern that the funds may be used for purposes other than those stated, provision has been made in the amendment for 2 Trust Accounts- one concerning meat inspection and the other concerning the eradication campaign.

The Government's amendment has been drafted so that the part of the charge related to meat inspection will be paid into the Meat Export Charge Trust Account and that part of the charge that is related to the campaign- 0.6c per pound- - will be paid into the Eradication Trust Account.

(ii)   Section 4 (c)(2) stated that the amounts to be fixed from time to time for the purposes of sections 6 and 7 of the Charge Act shall be determined after consideration of the amounts standing to the credit of the Trust Account. The Charge Act fixes the maximum and operative rate of charge and the only variation to the charge that can be made is for a lower rate to be struck and prescribed by regulation in respect of a class of meat. The draftsman has advised that this section of the amendment would be legally meaningless.

During the debate in the House of Representatives on 6 November the Deputy Leader of the Australian Country Party (Mr Sinclair) stated that the Opposition would be prepared to accept the charge of 0.6c per pound if the Government were prepared to establish a Trust Account to ensure that all monies are used for the purposes intended. It is assumed, therefore, that in the light of the information provided on the estimated revenue and costs, and the fact that the Government has agreed to the establishment of a separate Trust Account, the Opposition will agree to the passage of the Bills without further delay.







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