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Friday, 7 September 1984
Page: 876

Mr IAN CAMERON(4.18) —This afternoon I wish to give a brief resume of my recent trip to Asia. In doing so, first of all, I wish to thank very much the Chinese Embassy in Canberra for the arrangements it made for the trip that my wife Jill and I were fortunate enough to make to that wonderful country. We were fortunate enough to spend 10 days under the guidance of the Chinese Institute of Foreign Affairs. One of the personnel from Peking, Mr Wang, met us at Canton and travelled with us throughout China. Today I take this opportunity to mention that fact because only yesterday Australia inaugurated a new service between Peking and Sydney. Qantas Airways Ltd flies direct from Sydney to Peking. The inaugural return flight is by the Civil Aviation Administration of China. Its Boeing aircraft arrived in Sydney yesterday. No doubt some Government and Opposition members will be involved in welcoming that service to our country. I recommend to members of this House and other Australians to endeavour to take a trip to China. Qantas is presently offering cheap fares, $600 return, with five to 10 nights accommodation in Peking. I suggest that if Australians can find a way of going to China on Qantas and making use of the cut fares they should certainly do so. It is a very fascinating place. It has a population of over one billion. My wife and I were very well looked after. We also went to Japan, Korea , Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

While I was in Asia I looked at the beef market and saw the problems which are faced by beef producers from Maranoa. The Minister for Trade (Mr Lionel Bowen) does not know how many quarters there are in a carcase. When he mentioned this yesterday I think that he had about 10 quarters in a carcase. I must give him marks for trying. I remind the Minister that he seems to think that we cannot sell separate cuts to some of these countries. I take this opportunity of telling him that when a carcase is cut up it goes into different boxes. The specialist cuts go to the specialist markets around the world. There is no reason why we cannot sell more lot fed beef to Tokyo. I request the Minister to go there and look at the situation. If it is good enough for me to go there and look at the market, surely it is good enough for the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Hayden) and the Minister for Trade of the Labor Government to go there.

Mr Gear —He has been up there.

Mr IAN CAMERON —The Minister for Trade has not been there for the last 18 months . I think it is time he went and had a look at what is happening in those markets. I congratulate the Queensland Government for staging such a successful fair at Ag Asia in Kuala Lumpur. We were fortunate enough to spend two days there. The fair was attended by small companies such as Grundy's. I see that the Minister for Science and Technology (Mr Barry Jones) is at the table. No doubt he would like to help some of the small industries participate in these markets. The progressive Queensland Government was prepared to put a stand of its own at that fair. It cost that Government quite a deal of money. It was attended by ten or 20 small companies. Two or three of them were from Maranoa. The Southern Cross windmill company and Grundy's electrical company from Dalby had stands at that fair selling new Australian products to the Asian market. Surely that is where our market is. The Minister who is at the table nods his head. He knows that. Unfortunately, he does not have the funds or the backing from his Government that he needs, but he is still trying. I give him full marks for that . I congratulate the people who had exhibits at that show. I also mention the people involved in exporting live cattle from Australia to Asian markets. I believe they are doing an excellent job.

I recommend that the China desk of the Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation office in Singapore be taken away and put in Japan or Peking. I believe there is a tremendous beef market to be opened in China, particularly in view of the tourist trade which is continuing to expand. As I have mentioned, we have seen what is happening with the two-way airline agreement between China and Australia. I put it to the Parliament that we should get into that market. It is available to us. We should try to sell more meat in that market.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.