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Minister 'chews the bone' with export meat chiefs



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MINISTER FOR RESOURCES ALAN GRIFFITHS MP

6 September 1991 PIE91/231G

MINISTER 'CHEWS THE BONE' WITH EXPORT MEAT CHIEFS

In a speech to the chief executives from the export sector of the Australian meat industry in Sydney today, the Minister for Resources, Alan Griffiths, applauded the industry for its market growth achievements, and called on meat exporters to acknowledge the role played by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) in achieving that growth.

Mr Griffiths said that last year the export meat industry contributed 2.8 billion dollars to the balance of payments to make it one of Australia's major rural export earners.

"The indications are that this success will be consolidated and expanded with growth in the lucrative Japanese and Korean markets", he said.

"But the key to access to, and maintenance of, these markets is the quality and integrity of the product, and this is where AQIS’ contribution is all-important.

"Full cost recovery for its services has put AQIS firmly in the spotlight from industry in regards to efficiency, accountability and value for money, and I can say confidently that AQIS is delivering successfully in all these areas.

"This is clearly illustrated by some telling figures.

• In the first quarter of this year, Australia's meat rejection figures from the United States stood at 0.31 per cent, down from fxom 0.35 per cent last year, and better than New Zealand in the same period.

• On the home front, AQIS has, since 1986, reduced its m eat inspector numbers by nearly 600 to the current level of 1,640 inspectors, who last year inspected 2.8 million tonnes of export and domestic meat.

• The overall cost of providing the meat inspection service has dropped from $111.7 million in 1987-88 to $105.5 million in 1991-92, a reduction in 1 real terms of approximately 23 per cent.

• At equivalent full cost recovery levels, the cost per kilogram of product inspected has declined from 4.6 cents per kg in 1989/90 to 3.7 cents per kg in 1991/92.

^ COMMONWEALTH

X P A R L IA M E N T A R Y LIBRA RY

MiCAH

Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: (06) 2777480 Fax: (06)2734154

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• Throughput of animals per inspector has increased by a massive 51% from 1986/7 to 1991/2.

Moreover, from September 23 this year, in line with the recommendations of the recent domestic m eat industry review, AQIS will be introducing new arrangements for domestic meat inspection that have the potential to further reduce overall costs by 25 to 30 per cent.

"These changes will not compromise the integrity of the meat industry in any way, nor will they impact upon the export sector in the short-term.

"Once in place, however, they will provide a platform from which to renegotiate the inspection requirements of our overseas clients, and at that time we can expect direct benefits to flow on to the export sector," Mr Griffiths said.

Further Information : Minister's Office AQIS John Brumby : Ph - (06)277 7480 John Flannery : Ph - (06)272 5234