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Tuesday, 17 September 1974
Page: 1113

Senator McLAREN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question which is addressed to the Minister for Agriculture refers to the live sheep export trade from South Australia and Western Australia to the Middle East. Has any progress been made in ironing out differences between exporters and unionists which have disrupted this trade in the past?

Senator WRIEDT -Over the last few months there have been considerable problems with the export of live sheep, particularly from Western Australia but also from South Australia, mainly because the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union has objected to the number of live sheep being exported, which reduces the throughput of sheep at the abattoirs in those States. Because the position was becoming rather desperate I recently asked the Chairman of the Australian Meat Board to convene a meeting involving the union, the Western Australian State Minister for Agriculture, who subsequently was represented by the Director-General of Agriculture in Western Australia, and the South Australian Minister for Agriculture. That meeting was held in Sydney yesterday. The result of it is that at least at this stage there will not be a ban on the export of live sheep. I think that in the discussions both sides became aware of factors which possibly they were not aware of earlier. It is the Government's desire to ensure that markets for our livestock are maintained if at all possible. But we recognise the concern of members of that union whose numbers have been depleted recently as a result of the reduction in the throughput of sheep at the abattoirs. A sub-committee was formed at the meeting yesterday, and I believe that it is to meet again in a fortnight.

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