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Tuesday, 27 October 1964
Page: 1292

Senator ANDERSON (New South Wales) (Minister for Customs and Excise) . - 1 am grateful to Senator Sir William Spooner for entering the debate on Division No. 383. He linked his remarks generally to the development of trade and he referred specifically to the meat export industry. To bring meat export establishments up to the standard required by the American meat regulations proprietors were required to make certain alterations at their own cost. I well recall that the Senate had a debate last session on the problems in one State. I am told that the capital cost to proprietors is not known. Some effort will be made to obtain this information. We have not made an assessment of the cost to the Commonwealth of meeting the requirements of the American regulations. We are all heartened at the impact that the development of this primary industry has made and we acknowledge its advantages to Australia. I recall hearing on the radio or reading in the Press in the past 48 hours that American interests had indicated that there was no reason to expect in the foreseeable future a falling away of these meat exports to the United States. The information that Senator Sir William Spooner sought was comprehensive. It is not readily available now but we shall obtain it.

In reply to Senator Ormonde, I say that advertising and publicity are matters for the Department of Trade and Industry as distinct from the Department of Primary Industry. Provision for these matters is made in the estimates of the former Department. Senator O'Byrne raised a question in relation to dairy farmers at Preolenna, Tasmania. He said that they were under the clear impression that there was an arrangement whereunder no repayments were to be made in the first year and a series of repayments was to be made in subsequent years. My information is that there were to be no repayments in the first year. Arrangements other than that are not within the knowledge of the officers who are with me. In view of the clear picture that Senator O'Byrne seems to have in relation to this proposition, 1 think a direct reply from the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) is warranted.

Replying to Senator Lillico, I mention that a survey of the dairy industry to determine production costs is being made at the moment. Whether the results of the survey will affect the subsidy of £13.5 million at present paid on butter and cheese production is a matter for the Government. When the survey is complete, the Government will decide what action it will take.

Senator Lillico - A survey is being made at the moment?

Senator ANDERSON - Yes, currently. I regret that in some instances my replies have been of a rather general nature. I repeat that specific matters will be referred to the Department for replies.

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