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Address at opening of Cattlemen's Union second annual convention Toowoomba, Queensland



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P R I M E ' M I N I S T E R

.FOR PRESS 28 SEPTEMBER 197?

ADDRESS A T OPENING O F C A T T L E M E N ’S UNION SECOND AN N U A L CONVENTION TOOWOOMBA, QOBSWSLAHD

Tills has bee» a time o f great economic hardship for cattlemen. F r o m the b o o m conditions of 1973/74, prices in the cattlayaxds h a v e fallen disastrously - from 93 cents p e r Kilogram in September; 1973 to as little as 24 cents per Kilogram in January 1975. Since

then, prices h a v e improved marginally b u t they remain f a r below the record 1973 prices.

W h i l e prices have been depressed, f a r m costs h a v e risen d r a m a t i c a l l y . In each of the three Labor y e a r s , farm costs far o u t s tripped the

general rise in the Consumer Price Index, In 1974-75, farm costs .

rose o v e r 30%.

B e e f p r o d u c e r s 1 n e t t proceeds have fallen alarmingly in money terms, "la real terns the situation is even worse; and beef producers have also been hard h i t b y continuous industrial disruption, limited access to o u r m o s t important overseas beef m a r k e t s , a prolonged

d r o p in export prices m a d e w o r s e by drought conditions in the

U n i t e d States causing local stock fco flood United States markets, and b y a cattle surplus in Australia creating low prices f&r· producers. Moreover, the scars left by L a b o r ’s policies on t h e rural community could n o t b e healed overnight.

T h e L a b o r Government n o t only produced record inflation - it directly attacked the rural commu n i t y . w i t h the Coombs T a s k Force report as their bifole, they withdrew concession after concession. They abolished tax co n c e s s i o n s , abolished the superphosphate bounty

a n d tried to reduce the wool reserve p r i c e by 50 cents a pound.

They imposed n e w imposts such as the Meat Inspection Charge. ■ ^ '

They failed to give local government and rural roads the financial, support so clearly required.

Labor’s attitude was completely summed up by Mr, Whitlam when he -told a farmer’s rally; ’You’ve, never-had it so good1 dt was-V :Labors·' deliberate policy to depress rural industries - and that: is;:l^fc what they did. ■ ■ ■ ...-/Γ;,'t: - - -; _

’ ' ' ' v'Ltihdt"; B0i2ght' to'· create - divisions bei^reeh city hnd country« — --τ :,;'M&vtiardship· suffered cannot just be measured in money terms ~V ; 1 there h a v e been human and social costs. People are b e i n g ^ ·_ -

forced", to''-leave their f a r m s , to abandon .the l i f e they wanted u to live. W h o l e families are under stress. These facts are

too often ignored, a n d it is time that the' difficulties that beef = producers f a c e j a r e ^ r e ^ i s f i c a l l y _ r e c o g n i s e d , ^ _ *

/Many

Many people have recognised and been responsive to the problems. of disadvantage-in cities, but all too often people;have been - -,.· unknowing a n d . uncaring about the. problems, t h e . disadvantages and - . . financial. difficulty;; that exist in ..the farmingcommunity. . - . . . ·-- · ;χ

Since coming to office, w e have acted to secure the long term viability of oar rural industries, to secure their ability to play a significant role in Australia's development; We are : determined to redress the inequities; and- the anti-rrural bias and

distortion of Labor's policies. » e are determined to make sure that there is an equitable sharing of the burdens in the fight against inflation. In this task, we have.been greatly assisted by nstant submissions and representations from Liberal and

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In less; tean,: two, yearsrw e have d eveloped ra cort^fehensfve and constructive prograitiie of assistance for the whole, rural eoraatroity/ΐ and specific assistance to meet the most urgent needs of industries^ v I would like to talk briefly· about what baa been done for the rural community as- a whole. Our greatest contribution to rural producers > has been to reduce the; inflation .--rate i : When we came .to. office*; inflation as measured fay the CPI adjusted for Medibank was ...: · ·

running at 16.7%V: ' A t the end of June it w a s 1 0 «2%. - -This· year/''S-; the ihireau/of Agricultural Economics estimates that farm costs r ^ will rise by less than 10%· for the first time since 1972. -v··. : v'··· Hie CoVermnent has introduced: a whole range o f taxation measures \ . .

which.greatly benefit primary producers v W e have acted to protect primary producers from paying unduly high rates of tax because of . . · · . : sharp fluctuations in their income. Last year w e introduced; ;; ί income equalisation deposits# and w e indexed" tax so that no-one was pushed into higher brackets just because of inflation. .

This year w e dramatically reduced and simplified those scales with the result that every taxpayer, is better-off; and-we reformed:; the tax averaging scheme £ - > ^ ? $ r i r m y producers w i l l p a y : tax at the rate applicable to their average income * o r their actual. : r <

income for the year, whichever is lowerv ·.·,.--

This bears sharp contrast to the so-called Bayden. tax reforms of ; 1975, which meant that, fanners in m a n y . cases paid j o r e ; tax than a wage earner o& the same average income . Hie Hay den 1 reforms' c ost farmers ■ an extra $50^ifitlliOti'in tax

averaging system» - · . \ ...... : : :;;v r -;:;■:-·; · '

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The 40% investment allowance ' has; been7utrlis^ ^ producers, and estate dutyhas been eased on assets passing to'a'spouse,' cr.. ‘ *“ "" ' ....... ” ' ' *

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In o f h e r i ^ a s u r e s to assist t h e r u r a l comronity, obtaining f i n a n c e h a s bean m a d e eas i e r through o u r action s to ensure banks ■ have greater liquidity to finance term ana farm development loans Substantially m o r e funds have been given to local government a n d

for rural roads * The Government has reintroduced the super­ phosphate bounty w h i c h L a b o r abolished, a n d retained the nitrogenous fertiliser subsidy which the XAC wa n t e d to have abolished, S e h a v e introduced a n e w rural adjustment scheme

and consistently given assistance with drought a n d o t h e r natural d i s a s t e r relief.

w e are committed to the establishment o f a National Rural Bank to increase primary producers access to funds to refinance their debts on a more satisfactory long-term basis. Legislation to establish the B a n k will b e introduced as soon as possible - this session,

W e have also m a d e strenuous and successful efforts to increase m a r k e t access, N e g o t i a t i o n s , in Japan in April, led to a

decision by the Japanese Government n o t to reduce b e e f quotas as h a d been t h r e a t e n e d z and are pursuing negotiations witli r - J a p a n . to: seekk3ii0re^a^ropriate; -levelS'‘ 'for.-: bee.f<5-es5»ox5tS'.^:r-r-.tv-.: - - · ' ' t ; ■ ■ ■'··' . - ' - ■ · · ' -■.: . A s a result

o f o u r e f f o r t s , the volume of imports permitted entry to the US

m a r k e t is up 4% on last year.

W e ha-yc also taken up.with.the B B C at the highest level the need to increase our access to European markets. The European .

Community o f 260 million people accounts for 40% o f the world's t r a d e . As recently as I960, 40% o f our exports w e n t to European

m a r k e t s . That proportion has been reduced to 14% - n o t because

o f inefficiency by o a r producers, b u t to a large e x t e n t because o f the S ^ C !s restrictive policies, As a result of discussions X

h a d in Eur o p e last June, the European Commission h a s agreed to a

series o f bilateral trade discussions, and the Mini s t e r for Special Trade Negotiations, John Howard, is currently engaged in those discussions,

In addition to the measures for the whole rural c o m m u n i t y , w e have taken numerous initiatives to help particular rural industries - wool, wheat, sugar, fruit and dairying t o name

a few,

For the b e e f industry, w e quickly abolished the Labor-inspired N e a t Inspection charge, liberalised and extended the terms of carry-on finance, introduced household support for producers assessed to b e non-viable, and contributed substantial funds to

the campaign to eradicate brucellosis and tuberculosis in cattle

The n e w Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation will shortly commence o p e r a t i o n s . under its new C h a i r m a n , Mr. G e o f f Jones- Four p r o d u c e r s 1 representatives are m e m b e r s , and it ia armed w i t h significantly broader powers than the present M e a t Board,

As a result, of ali o

market prices a n d th value of m e a t

the benefits of There is no doubt.th Figures available ;t0.i that in Queensland sill

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IS : ■ .-· W - ■.■.■- se-i ,r . liiS' · ■ ■ *‘ahd an encouraging increase:the; totalV S'

slaughterman have int 77%, the wages o f a%

slaughterman or $220 a week- M e a t pi

a dramatic turnaround; producers a t cattle i'M

ligross production " .y> increased. But by-and .large, ^ iVe not reached the. beef producer. . - try employees, have done very well. · · .

t of Primary-Industryindicate- . 1974, wages of an A grade - ' -

lit-ofia male labourer h a v e · , increased . r have gone up 97%.·. An, A\.Grade... , ^.rmal hours will earn a minimum of - - - · ~d: exporters have also experienced .

i.·. B u t the prices received by beef in very depressed. vrv-x -

Because of the beef-pj announced a n e w paci Operate ?s ituation vr we-.-recently· -J&es' to assist the beef industry;;;. :r,;

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l«et m e again outline tit ■ZrT Tofias class i f.i cation in b eef bSt

towards the capital; co -- r=r~;;¥ - - O - w > - i » = - r r . ¥ * ^ T- — * ¥tffg|Biw«yw h r ^

t^the early implementaEIon7!)tTCarcass we are” providingr lip to $6 nd^ipnr, " erne» . ···/,

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W e are negotiating w i t i x d B ^ p ^ p m s l a n d Government to grant. to -settlers in the Briqalowjl&n&felgcheme on average a two-year ··.·.· · moratorium on the r e p a y m e n i r financial obligations- -

under

W ” ' )er seven yea r s « The , -.·Î¿".ί$Μ^ L b e holding an inguiry into

Of loans under the scheme2 Prices Justification _______ , __________________

m e a t marketing and process ingjjgfcioes. · - . W e are examining ways inprove -the Bregei^ :J.ii^to^ ^ p ^ e t d n g - ^ 3 t e E & T- sugh:.as-intro^- ^ M ^ > _ . _ _; _____ _ _ . ___ ducinq a buffer fund schemedl.%. sb= ..·· ' " . *'·.·/ ·--■..■·,· - : . "' We_will urgently ;rerexaiaine-t^i3fefmB and conditions a n d funds- . ..-f' >g.^f

available for carry-on loans^ r ^ e f producers, and for househol$i-~s|^ support. Because o f the ima^ S a^feiteed to improve beef producers cash flow position, we.are a cash grant o f $X0 p e r l b e a d ^

for a twelve month period for^efid|>-cattle, excluding dairy herds ppi|i·: for a number of disease cont^i^iripcesses> or for spaying of youiig>S λ beef heifers up to two years^m ^ S a e'r^· ■ · Necessarily > the subsidy ^willl;· be limited - to $2,000 per'prBjjtgaef'ii·:- counting.partnerships. a n d - ^ ^ a ^ L

coapanies as single ideatitiesr$;l#e. are i re-examining Government ·Î>*τ;3ν Sv charges vdtich producers in r&ifl^iand isolated pastoral areas, haves:-· to bear. - . ® Μ Î’ 8 * '

This package of measures and': b © ? h e w tax averaging measures amply : f. demonatrate our acute awarenesS-Of the need to assist Australians vital beef industry - during;t ^ie;: present abnormal conditions. There is one other, matter of^vrtElSdnterest to beef producers

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that I w o u l d like to talk about briefly - industrial r e l a t i o n s . This Government is absolutely determined that the law shall apply in the area of industrial relations, b o community can tolerate a situation w h e r e one area is exempt from the law - this Government

and the Australian community certainly w i l l n o t tolerate it;

Since w e w e r e elected, w e have passed the secret ballot legislation w e promised. Ke have established the Industrial Relations B u r e a u , W e have a m e n d e d the Trade Practices A c t to b a n damaging secondary

Boycotts. W e h a v e legislated to give the Government t h e necessary powers· to suspend, dismiss and stand down Commonwealth employees in particular cireumsban c e s » O u r industrial policy has h a d considerable s u c c e s s .

In the f i r s t six months of this year; Australia has h a d the lowest

level of industrial disputes, a n d the l e a s t 7n u m b e r of w o r k i n g days, l o s t daring this decade. ■:>,··- jiv : -

Bec a u s e o f our secret ballot legislation# unions are m a k i n g greater u s e of the electoral office to run their e l e c t i o n s . In the twelve

" m o n t h s s i n c e the legislation was introduced, there w e r e 244 such .

W o r k e r s , and Shipwrights O n i o n , and the Builders Labourers Pederati If the Industrial Registrar confirms that breaches h a v e occurred n e w elections fully conforming, w i t h t h e ; A e f -wi XI be.-he.ldy~,o r :±he ··;*· unions concerned w i l l face p r o s e cution.

areas»- y o u k n o w the problems union disputes are still causing the beef industry, lai t h e y e a r to 30 dune 1977* tens o f thousands

o f m a n days w e r e l o s t in Queensland meat* processing w o r k s . :

estimated that the dispute cost, beef producers $500 > 000. a w e e k » v On·, one. day alone. 52, containers of: chilled beef-worth o v e r a · - - million dollars w e r e h e l d up ~ and the shippers h a d tovmaintain .:, refrigeration with dry ice.

One report to the .Minister for Primarylodustry estimates the c o s t to central Queensland cattlemen of industrial troubles in the m e a t industry bo b e between $20 and· $30 a head in respect o f each

b e a s t sold. .There are other areas where industrial disputes are - cau s i n g m a j o r problems — the construction and. m i n i n g industries f o r example^ bespite the improved statistics# extremist union leaders are getting "more skilled at causing max i m u m disruption whil

using fewer men, and; they are harming.,beef producers# the rural 1 community a n d all Australians with their tactics. The Government is determ i n e d n o t to let this situation continue. T h e law will b e

upheld in industrial matters. ________

a p p l i c a t i o n s . T h e Arbitration Inspectorate has found evidence of recent breaches of the law- by two u n i o n s , the Am a l g a m a t e d Metal

B e s p i t e · ' ■ ttiesev improvements there- : afe still'"problems -xn: important

/ T h e Government's

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The G o v e r n m e n t ’s firmness in the air controllers and posfM.- · wor k e r s disputes clearly demonstrated this, and w e willibes- : ' bringing down further industrial relations legislation Sin tthis session of Parliament.

24r. President, for the i n d u s t r y ’s long term recovery, inflation m a s t b e r e d u c e d further a n d this the Government has well* dun hand. Access to overseas markets m u s t b e maintained and improved, a n d the Government is doing everything w i t h i n its power -bo do.so,

particularly in Japanese, American a n d European markets, > T h e industrial relations record m u s t b e further inproved - neither - the industry, n o r A u s t r a l i a can afford unnecessary and damaging

industrial d i s p u t e s . A n d w e m u s t a l l b e willing to l o o k constantly

a t w a y s o f improving efficiency and quality in beef production and marketing. I look for y o u r wholehearted cooperation.·; io'-tbe:.·" 11 - V " ^discussions t h a t w i l l ;b e taking p l a c e w i t h -respect i x r l s a r k e t l n g - arrangements and a buffer fund.

W e have demonstrated b y o u r actions this Go v e r n m e n t ’s real concern . . f o r rural industry, W e recognise rural i n d u s t r y ’s importance for o u r decentralised towns, for our export earnings, and for the Austra l i a n way o f life, V*e are determined to see o u r great

rural industry through this time o f stress and difficulty. - A n d to work w i t h the beef industry to see that its l o n g term

future is secured.

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