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Wednesday, 7 September 1983
Page: 462

Mr KERIN (Minister for Primary Industry)(11.43) —I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

This Bill provides for an amendment to the Barley Research Levy Act 1980 to give effect to decisions taken by the Government when framing the 1983 Budget. The effect of the amendment will be to increase the maximum rate of levy payable under the Act from 20c to 50c per tonne. The rate of levy effective from 1 October 1983, however, will be 30c per tonne compared with 20c at present. The levy applies to all barley delivered by a grower to another person, unless that person is storing it on the grower's behalf. The amendments contained in this Bill are in response to a submission from the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation and a recognition that continuing increases in the cost of research have eroded the real value of levy collections.

In accepting the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation's submission, the Government has recognised the need to increase productivity in grain production so that Australia remains competitive on world markets. We also need to be able to meet the increasingly exacting quality characteristics required by purchasers of barley. This requires increased research especially in such areas as improved crop varieties and cropping systems and disease control. The recent drought severely reduced the funds available for research in 1983-84 and it has been necessary to curtail essential work in a number of areas. Reserve funds maintained by the five State barley industry research committees and the Barley Industry Research Council have been largely exhausted in maintaining ongoing research programs.

The Commonwealth matches industry contributions on a dollar for dollar basis and the Bill reflects the importance the Government places on the need for continued research into significant issues facing the grain growing industries. The new levy will enable present levels of barley research to continue, assist the industry to increase its productivity and maintain Australia's competitiveness on world markets. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr McVeigh) adjourned.


Debate resumed from 23 August, on motion by Mr Hurford:

That the Bill be now read a second time.