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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 1386

Senator WRIGHT (TASMANIA) - I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Overseas Trade. My information is that directives on the packaging of abalone for export have caused the hold-up of $250,000 worth of that product in Tasmania and that if these regulations requiring drainage of the product are allowed to continue the probable effect will be to reduce the output value of the industry by 10 per cent. In view of the immediate damage being caused to the industry, will the Minister look into the matter- I believe that the difficulty stems from a contradiction in the directives to the industry- to enable export of that product to proceed? The Minister will know that the livelihood of about 120 abalone divers in Tasmania depends upon the free flow of this product.

Senator WRIEDT - I am aware that the directive referred to by Senator Wright was issued and that it has caused some problems. I understand that the reason for its issue was that most of the shipments of abalone overseas were underweight on arrival at their destination. I understand that the loss is due to a drying process which takes place in transit. The Department of Overseas Trade, in order not to damage the trade, wants to make sure that the products, when they reach their destination, are of the weight prescribed in the packaging. I have done exactly what the honourable senator has requested. I have asked that this matter be reviewed because obvious pockets of difficulty have been created as a result of the issue of the directive. This afternoon I hope to have some resolution of the problem. If so, I hope to be able to make an announcement tomorrow.

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