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Meat inspection chaos -- minister should talk, not cost jobs



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DEPUTY LEADER, NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA SHADOW MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRY

MEAT INSPECTION CHAOS — MINISTER SHOULD TALK, NOT COST JOBS

Over 1000 people will be without jobs tonight because Resources Minister, Alan Griffiths refuses to negotiate with the 31 NSW abattoir owners who have not paid their full meat inspection fees since January 1, according to National Party Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Primary Industry, Bruce Lloyd.

Mr Lloyd said the Minister's decision to withdraw meat inspectors from these abattoirs at the close of business tonight was heavy­ handed and NSW could actually run short of meat.

He said the timing of the Government's decision also showed a callous disregard for animal welfare as much of NSW was now suffering from drought and many farmers must sell their stock.

"The Labor Government is not concerned that its policies are adding to the number of unemployed people, but when it is directly

responsible for adding 1000 to the list by continuing to tolerate an inefficient, top-heavy and costly meat inspection system, it is time somebody cared.

"The Minister must know that abattoirs would not object to paying the full cost of meat inspection if the costs were reasonable but when the cost of hiring inspectors becomes more than the cost of workforce employed to kill and process the meat, they naturally object.

"Why should anyone be forced to pay 100 per cent of any bureaucratic structure when they don't have a say in how it is run.

"The abattoir owners have no say in the wages of the inspectors and veterinarians, their work practices, or even the number they are forced to hire.

"All they know is that they could employ at least two people for the $65,000 they must pay for an inspector and three for the $93,000 they have to pay for a single Government employed veterinarian."

Mr Lloyd said the Government had been promising reforms to meat inspection for years but these were withering along with Australia's chances of remaining competitive in meat exports.

"By now every abattoir should have achieved its own quality assurance program and inspectors should only have to make periodic checks instead of standing over every piece of meat that comes through the

Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T., 2(>00 For further inform ation phone 062// 7 7 4 1 9 3 | ... - ........... — ....... ..— — — ........... 1 1 1 ,1 ....... * ............ " * !

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PA RLIA M ENTARY LIBRARY MICAH END 15/4/91