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Rules for movement of imported untreated grain too loose Minister puts $2 billion wheat industry at risk



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John Anderson, MR Deputy Leader, National Party of Australia Shadow Minister for Primary Industry Media

Canberra: Phone (06) 2 7 7 4074

Gunnedah: Phone (067) 42 3155

RULES FOR MOVEMENT OF IMPORTED UNTREATED GRAIN TOO LOOSE

MINISTER PUTS $2 BILLION W HEAT INDUSTRY AT RISK

National Party Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Primary Industry, John Anderson says he is astonished that the Minister, Senator Collins, is prepared to accept the protocols for up-country movement of grain proposed by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS).

Mr Anderson said by agreeing to these new protocols, the Minister is relying on AQIS to ensure that there are no grain spillages and that the grain is loaded and unloaded without dust escaping or pests and diseases getting free.

"I just do not have enough faith in AQIS to believe it can be trusted with the enormous responsibility of protecting our $2 billion wheat industry.

"Even when AQIS inspectors were in every meatworks in Australia, that did not stop problems, but the Minister now believes AQIS will ensure the safe delivery of every truckload of grain when the trucks will be out of their sight the minute they leave the wharf.

'The Minister appears to be the only person in Australia that has this much confidence in AQIS."

Mr Anderson said he was worried about imported diseases, pests and weed-seeds establishing themselves in this country, with the potential to do enormous damage to our grain industry.

"For example, this protocol means imported untreated grain can be moved to country areas on semi-trailers with just a double tarping and no supervision.

Mr Anderson said that for most uses, like feedlots and other intensive types of farming, the use of steam-treated grain was entirely satisfactory, and only cost around $10 a tonne.

"It is a small price to pay to ensure that diseases and pests are eliminated before the grain is moved to country areas.

"In the small number of cases where heat-treated grain cannot be used, the grain should be transported in tanker trucks to ensure there is no spillage."

Mr Anderson said that end users should be just as anxious to protect Australian grain crops as grain growers, because the future of both industries, was interwoven.

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