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Thursday, 3 October 1974
Page: 1641

Senator POYSER (VICTORIA) -Has the attention of the Minister for Agriculture been drawn to a Press article in this morning's Melbourne 'Sun' that Kraft Foods Ltd intends to withdraw from the dairy industry equalisation scheme? Will this withdrawal affect the efficiency and operation of the scheme?

Senator WRIEDT - I have seen the report indicating that the Kraft company intends, as I understand the report, to withdraw from dairy equalisation. There is a long history to the equalisation of the dairy industry and there has been a great deal of dissatisfaction in the States over its operation. I am more concerned, though, about the fact that the same company wrote to me only perhaps 3 weeks ago outlining its concern and the difficulties it was experiencing. I replied to its letter indicating that many of the points which it raised in its letter to me and the suggestions it made were very good ones. Nevertheless, I indicated that I would prefer to see the company remain within the present arrangements until such time as a decision can be reached between the Australian Government, the State governments and the industry, because we do not want to see a collapse of equalisation with nothing to replace it.

I do not know whether the decision that the company has taken is a final one. It is a matter of concern to me. I am endeavouring to ascertain the correctness or otherwise of the report in today's Press. But I would hope that the industry itself is not going to find many other factories and manufacturers withdrawing from the scheme at this stage because a great deal of new thinking is going on now throughout the whole of the dairy industry and there is a realisation that changes will need to be effected and that providing everybody is prepared to co-operate, they can be effected to the betterment of the industry.

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