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Wednesday, 21 September 1983
Page: 1075

Mr EWEN CAMERON —Is the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations aware of the current threat being posed to Australian wheat crops by the disease stripe rust? Is he also aware that the chemical company Bayer Australia Ltd has made provision to import sufficient fungicide to spray some 400,000 hectares of endangered crops? Does he realise that the Australian Workers Union this morning placed a ban on Bayer Australia in support of a $90 a week penalty pay claim? In light of the obvious implications of such an action for the success or failure of a large part of the nation's wheat crop and our export earnings potential, what is the Government doing to ensure that Bayer Australia is able to handle these vital supplies of chemical without delay?

Mr WILLIS —I am not aware of the situation the honourable member described, which he said occurred only this morning. I certainly have not been apprised of it until now. On the general matter of claims, as a result of the Australian Council of Trade Unions Congress a couple of sectional claims which were being pursued have been dropped, in particular one at Albright and Wilson (Australia) Ltd by chemical workers in Melbourne, and one by workers at Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd in Sydney. I think the general attitude of the trade union movement now is very much one of complete support for the centralised wages system. That wages system is one which has their confidence, and if the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission gives a decision in line with the 4.3 per cent claim I am sure it will be adhered to. I take this opportunity to advise the House that the national wage decision will be given on Friday at 10.30 a.m. Finally, in relation to the honourable member's question, I will investigate the matters he has raised with me and give him a response privately later on.