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Tuesday, 26 August 1980
Page: 686

Mr LLOYD (MURRAY, VICTORIA) - Can the Minister for Trade and Resources advise the House whether, following the Industries Assistance Commission report on cheese, a satisfactory conclusion has been reached with New Zealand on limiting cheese imports to Australia? If an agreement has been made with New Zealand, what part was played by the two governments and by the dairying industry organisations, and where does the agreement fit into the New Zealand- Australia Free Trade Agreement?

Mr ANTHONY - The export of cheese from New Zealand to Australia has been a vexed issue and one that has come up many times at New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement discussions. There has been a long series of consultations and discussions to try to resolve the differences between our two countries. I am pleased to be able to say that a few weeks ago this matter was resolved as a result of industry organisations in both countries coming together. Basically, it was resolved by New Zealand adopting a reasonable policy of restraint on its exports to Australia. It has given an assurance to the Australian industry that it has absolutely no intention of disrupting the Australian market and that exports for this coming year will be at the same level as in 1 979.

It is also worthy of note that at the NAFTA discussions only a few weeks ago Mr Talboys said that it made absolutely no sense at all for New Zealand to be exporting excess quantities of cheese to the Australian market and causing unnecessary disruption. This matter has involved both governments in a series of discussions and correspondence, and it is pleasing now that a sensible solution has been evolved between the two dairying industries under the framework of NAFTA and with the co-operation and support of the two governments.

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