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Address by Ian Sinclair

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At a time when mining and resource industries go on achieving

prominence and headlines in the financial press, it is easy to

forget the continued importance of Australia's rural industries.

These produce over $12,000 million worth of goods each year, of

which $7,250 million are exported. This earns 46% of Australia's

export income. . . ' . . . . . . ~ t - ·

In all this, New England plays its part, a very important part. N

Fanners here as elsewhere, of course, still face the twin problems

of seasons and markets. -

New England has emerged from three years of traumatic drought only .

to find that beef markets and live sheep markets are nowhere near

as buoyant as when the drought began. .

Importantly, our continued access to overseas markets relies on

the reputation of Australian exports. When this reputation was -put in question late last year, a Royal Commission was constituted

by the Federal Government to inquire into meat substitution. It's

findings, it is to be hoped., will sheet home responsibility to .

those who sought to destroy the reputation of Australia's meat industry.

Another area of concern in the meat industry is the continued

duplication of Commonwealth and State Meat Inspection Services.

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A report prepared by the Hon. C.R. Kelly advanced a practical

compromise to achieve one inspection service. Regrettably this

has not proved acceptable to State Ministers and Agricultural

Council has still not been able to resolve the issue.

Domestic inspection standards too are important. In this ■respect,

I commend the Armidale Pastures Protection Board and the Border

Tick Inspectors for their efforts to ensure that no cattle ticks

cross the Queensland border into New South Wales. .

I became personally aware of this vigilance in relation to the

movement of a load of hay delivered to my property. The facts

are worth spelling out as an illustration of how transgressions

can so easily occur, in this instance completely without -the

knowledge of me or my farm manager, or a number of my neighbouring

property owners and managers.

At the end of the drought the first spring flush of feed appeared

and a number of Bendemeer graziers purchased a small quantity

of lucerne hay to supplement the natural feed available for our

cows, then heavy in calf. , .

At Glenclair my manager arranged the purchase, took delivery,

and fed out the hay. About two weeks later the Armidale Pastures

Protection Board Inspectors called to ask him whether any hay

had been purchased through a -particular carrier. In acknowledging

delivery he was advised that the carrier concerned, apparently for

personal reasons, had by-passed the anti-tick spraying of the hay

and that there was a possibility the hay could be tick infested.

While in the event no ticks were found, each of the properties

concerned was required not to move stock from the respective holdings

for a three month period. During this time inspections were made by

the Pastures Protection Board Officers to ensure there were no.ticks

picked up by livestock at each property. As the tests were negative

the bans were lifted. '

The actions of the Pastures Protection Board in this instance, as in

their broader exercise of supervision of livestock health and hygiene

in our region are to be commended'. Had it not been for their . . ’ ' J \ *7 ’ - .

efficiency not one of the persons on the properties affected would

have even been aware that the hay had not been treated at the

Queensland/New South Wales border in the normal way and, albeit,

innocently parties would have been flouting important inspection

procedures designed to protect New England's livestock industries.

Needless to say not one of us was particularly happy with the

carrier responsible.

Whether in Australia or overseas supervision of livestock and

agricultural products is an important element in ensuring that the

quality reputation of our feed industries is maintained.

The Brucellosis and Tuberculosis eradication campaigns now well

underway are further excellent examples of the manner by which the

market opportunities for Australian products can be enhanced.

It is only by pursuing the most rigorous of standards, the

profitability and the livestock industries and indeed all primary

industries can be preserved.