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Thursday, 15 September 1983
Page: 888

Mr LINDSAY(12.39) —The Meat Inspection Bill represents an historic occasion in the development of the meat export industry in Australia. Indeed, for the first time since Federation this Parliament is introducing a Bill which will enact legislation to permit the Federal Department of Primary Industry to undertake domestic meat inspection in New South Wales and in any other State which might refer its power of meat inspection to the Commonwealth.

Mr Ian Cameron —You will let the taxpayer pay for it.

Mr LINDSAY —Indeed, I do not need any assistance from the honourable member for Maranoa, who rarely sees cows and who masquerades in this Parliament as a member of the National Party which hates Queenslanders and cattlemen. I will deal with certain aspects of this Bill. The legal background to this Bill is that the Commonwealth Government has constitutional authority for the control of all exports including foodstuffs. So too the State governments have responsibility with respect to the preparation and marketing of foodstuffs within their respective State spheres.

This legislation, for the first time, overcomes a history of neglect over many years with respect to meat inspection and meat export facilities. Indeed it has been brought to my attention that on 23 June 1982 the New South Wales Minister for Agriculture, Mr Jack Hallam, called on the Federal government of the day to institute the necessary legislation to obtain powers to instal a single meat inspection system in New South Wales. I take this opportunity of quoting his words, which were reported in the Australian Financial Review of 24 June 1982. He stated:

For these reasons, the NSW Government has offered to transfer the State inspection service to the Commonwealth and I hope other States will do likewise, so that all meat in Australia, with the exception of poultry, will be under comprehensive control of one inspection service.

At that time all meat exporters and livestock producers reacted enthusiastically to Mr Hallam's statement as they had been fighting for the introduction of that sort of legislation for more than 10 years. Opposition members must hang their heads in shame with the squalid reputation that they acquired over a long period with respect to negligent activity regarding the lack of meat export facilities and meat inspection procedures operating in Australia at that time. This legislation took numerous royal commissions and numerous debates in various parliaments throughout Australia. It is now in September 1983 that a Hawke Government, an authentic Australian Government, is concerned with the protection of Australian cattlemen and their produce, and has finally brought down legislation to install a single meat inspection service that will for ever more be a light to the direction of the development of meat inspection and meat export inspection facilities in Australia. I commend the Bill to the House. It is a milestone, an historic act, that will benefit the rural producers of Australia.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.