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Thursday, 18 October 1984
Page: 2011

Senator GRIMES (Minister for Social Security)(8.05) —The Government is not inclined to agree to Senator Macklin's amendments. It is my advice that they have several effects. They would extend the marketing arrangements by five years , not three. I am told by the advisers that strictly they would extend the arrangements by six years. The industry certainly wanted five years; it is my understanding from the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Kerin) that it would be satisfied with three. It has been adjusting considerably over the last four and a half years. Production has been brought under control and the canners are not now servicing the large numbers of non-viable markets that they were servicing. It seems to us that they are likely to be in a position not to need the statutory control in three years' time. Therefore the Minister and the Government think it is appropriate that the matter should be reviewed in 1987. It is our understanding that there is general satisfaction in the industry with the marketing arrangements being continued for the present. As for the third amendment, the Australian Canned Fruits Corporation is already working on its corporate plan and the specified date of 1 April 1985 provides adequate time for its completion. It would be good to have this completed as quickly as possible to enable the Corporation to get on with its main task of arranging the marketing of canned fruit. The fourth amendment seeks to remove from the Bill the clause dealing with the appointment of the Chair- person, the Deputy chairperson and two additional specially qualified persons. The appointment of the Chairperson, I am informed, was implicitly wanted by the Corporation and was supported by industry; so we are obviously not talking to the same people.

Senator Macklin —I did not say it was not; it is the point of whether or not you will restructure the way you have it in the legislation.

Senator GRIMES —The Department and the Minister advise me that the appointment of two extra members would strengthen the advice available to the Corporation and the industry, I am informed, sees merit in it. I find it difficult to understand what Senator Macklin is objecting to in the appointment of these people. We believe that the amendments should be opposed. The marketing arrangements would cease in December 1984 as the Bill could not be enacted in time, and we do not think that this is a very sensible way to go about it. Certainly, the matter should be reviewed and will be under continuous review. We are rather surprised at the amendments because we thought that the industry was pretty satisfied with the way things had panned out as a result of the consultation.