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No excuse for new charges



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RALPH HUNT MEDIA

14/85

DEPUTY LEADER NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA

NO EXCUSE FOR NEW CHARGES

Shadow Primary Industry Minister, Mr Ralph Hunt, has urged the Wran Labor Government in NSW not to use today1s High Court decision as an excuse for imposing additional charges on the meat industry.

Mr Hunt said the High Court had found that certain fees charged under the NSW Meat Industry Act were in reality excises.

This meant they were invalid, as under constitutional law only the Commonwealth is able to charge excise duties.

Speaking in Quirindi, Mr Hunt said the decision was expected to save the meat industry, and country abattoirs in particular, millions of dollars which could now give the industry a more competitive edge.

He said the NSW Government must consider several factors before rushing in and imposing new charges.

The industry faced a period of uncertainty, especially on overseas markets.

Already Singapore and Malaysia were taking less beef and the Korean market appeared to have been lost altogether.

At the same time there was still widespread concern over the strength of assurances claimed by Prime Minister Hawke and Primary Industry Minister Kerin that the EEC would not raid Asian/Pacific Basin beef markets.

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The sheepmeat industry also faced contracted world markets.

Mr Hunt said that before any move was made to introduce new State charges, the Hawke Labor Government should consider sharing with the State's proceeds from its heavily increased export inspection charges which were an unnecessary slug on the meat

industry.

QUIRINDI, NSW 13 February 1985

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