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Wednesday, 8 December 1976
Page: 3468

Mr BURR (WILMOT, TASMANIA) -My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Will the recent sale of meat to Russia produce any benefit for the meat industry in Tasmania? Can the Minister indicate when the quota entitlement arrangements for the 1977 meat export season will be finalised?

Mr SINCLAIR -Unfortunately at this stage, I understand, the consortium of companies that is involved in the latest sale of meat to Russia does not include a Tasmanian company. Nonetheless there is every reason to expect that if the trends that are emerging are fulfilled the Tasmanian industry, which I know has just commenced a new killing season, can expect significantly improved returns on those that were available during 1976. A very profound and extensive examination of the circumstances of the Meat Board proposal for diversification entitlements to the United States market, as it would affect the entitlement of Tasmanian exporters, has been undertaken by the Meat Board over the last few weeks. The Meat Board has put a proposal to me, and there is no doubt that as a result of whatever changes are implemented, the Tasmanian exporting position will be protected. However, discussions are continuing and as a result it has been suggested that it might be preferable to see what is happening with respect to the United States negotiations and with a number of other negotiations before the changed arrangements are concluded. It would be regrettable if, changes having been made, further changes were found to be necessary within the course of a few days or a week. Therefore, it is not possible this morning in reply to the honourable gentleman to tell him definitively the degree to which changes may be applied to diversification entitlement proposals. However, I can assure him that there is a recognition of the disabilities of Tasmania. Whatever the new entitlements, they will be directed so that Tasmanian meat works and exporters will not be disadvantaged in their entitlements for entrance to the United States market in 1977.

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