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Wednesday, 26 April 1972
Page: 1326

Senator WITHERS (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Firstly, what numbers of cattle, vealers, sheep, lambs and pigs were slaugthered in each State for the years 1968, 1969 and 1970? Secondly, how many of the above livestock were inspected by the Department of Primary Industry? Thirdly, is approval required for the export of meat? If so, who gives the approval? Lastly, has the increasing number of sheep and cattle slaughtered for export been considered by the Department of Primary Industry in relation to Australia's stock population? If so, is the percentage at present being slaughtered considered satisfactory?

The PRESIDENT - Order! I think that question should be placed on the notice paper. I do not think it is within the province of the Minister to answer it.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Air) - I am able to answer.

The PRESIDENT - The Minister may do so if he wishes.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - As you rightly said, Mr President, I cannot give the numbers. I could not even say how many cattle have come off our family property in the last 3 years. I shall certainly make inquiries for the honourable senator. I oan say whether approval is given because I have had this information in my file for some time. As the honourable senator knows, export abattoirs must be registered with the Department of Primary Industry, as must any premises such as boning rooms, which are used in connection with meat. A company that wants to export meat must obtain from the Department of Primary Industry a permit to export. Furthermore, companies which want to export meat must obtain an export licence from the Australian Meat Board. So approval has to be obtained in respect of 3 different matters. The honourable senator asked whether the Department of Primary Industry or the Australian Meat Board was worried about the number of animals slaughtered. I would say that the Department of Primary Industry and the Australian Meat Board naturally are concerned whether the numbers of livestock that are available for slaughter will enable export quotas to be filled. In this respect the 2 bodies are keeping a careful watch on that matter.

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