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Cheaper inspection is only first step in coalition policy

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Media Release For farther Information: Parliament House, Telephone: 06/2774193

Canberra ACT 2600 Facsimile: 06/2772053


The decision by the Federal and State Governments to make domestic meat works more responsible for their own meat inspection is a step towards implementing Opposition policy, according to National Party Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Primary Industry, Bruce Lloyd.

Mr Lloyd said that Minister Crean's announcement that up to 30 per cent could be saved by meat works doing their own inspection of offal of young animals certainly did not go far enough but it was a good, but overdue first step.

"The Coalition believes that under proper quality assurance programs all meatworks could undertake all inspection and just be subject to random checks by officers of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS).

"I have been in both domestic and export abattoirs where they find it necessary to have their own quality control people checking the

Government meat inspectors to ensure high quality meat.

"These companies are paying $68,000 for a Government meat inspector when they could be employing a good quality controller for under $40,000.

"I am pleased the Government has decided to design, develop and trial a more comprehensive quality assurance approach for introduction under Government supervision. This is in line with Coalition policy.

"However I am concerned that little progress seems to have been made over the last two years towards implementing even the first stage of quality assurance programs.

"While some domestic abattoirs may be able to save 25 to 30 per cent after qualifying people on quality assurance programs, there seems a reluctance to streamline inspection in export works and reduce the overheads incurred by AQIS," Mr Lloyd said.

"If AQIS is charged .with implementing the new scheme, it may take a long time to become effective."

"For the cost reduction to take effect AQIS must bite the bullet and reduce the number of surplus inspectors, Mr Lloyd said.

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