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Tuesday, 12 November 1974
Page: 2208

Senator LAWRIE (QUEENSLAND) -Will the Minister for Agriculture consider including canned meat in the aid which the Government proposes to give to nations which are short of food? In Australia at present meat is so cheap that considerable amounts could be provided for these countries. A scheme such as this could help the Australian producers to dispose of some of their surplus production and perhaps to build up markets when conditions return to normal.

Senator WRIEDT - The Government is considering ways whereby the current surplus of meat in Australia might be used for food aid programs. But, as I am sure Senator Lawrie will agree, meat is generally an expensive commodity. As he suggests, we have either to can it before we send it overseas or to refrigerate it. The countries which are most concerned about food shortages are, of course, the ones with the least refrigeration facilities to handle it when it gets there. If we were to send fresh meat it is almost certain that most of it would be lost. One or two other alternatives are currently being looked at, but the fundamental situation is that with a food aid program we are not so much concerned in the immediate months ahead with protein but simply with getting food to hungry people. Of course that is where wheat becomes the critical factor. Nevertheless, I assure the honourable senator that all methods available in Australia for properly utilising meat are being considered.

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