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Wednesday, 8 May 1985
Page: 1815

Mr KERIN (Minister for Primary Industry)(11.02) —in reply-The two Opposition speakers, the honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt) and the honourable member for O'Connor (Mr Tuckey), of course repeated the usual myths that they continue to repeat whenever this subject comes up. The main claim by the honourable member for Gwydir was that the 50 per cent recovery policy is not followed by all competitor countries. A recent survey has revealed that, with the exception of New Zealand, all major competitor countries charge for export inspection. New Zealand is in the process of moving towards 100 per cent cost recovery and is phasing it in over three years. The Opposition says it believes that the costs should be borne by the Government. Implementing charges to recover government export inspection costs was a Liberal-National Party initiative. That policy was consistent with a range of other cost recovery measures introduced by the Liberal-National Party Government. The Opposition now says that any additional charges on export inspection will severely impact on export competitiveness. The competitiveness of canned fruits on export markets has been a long term issue and it existed long before inspection charges were introduced. Simplified inspection procedures will enable canners to reduce their inspection charges; in other words, contrary to what the honourable member for O'Connor said, in every place we are moving to limit charges and reduce as quickly as we can the number of people involved in inspection.

The honourable member for O'Connor claimed that there is no requirement for meat inspection to be undertaken on the slaughter floor, and he said that this so-called fact was established as a result of a question in the House. The fact is that it is a clear condition of the United States and Japanese governments and the European Community that each carcass must be inspected on the slaughter floor. Moreover, the United States and the EC demand that ante- and post-mortem veterinary inspection be carried out, and the United States and the EC regularly send representations to Australia to review our inspection procedures to ensure that they meet these requirements.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.