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Thursday, 12 November 1998
Page: 252

Mr VAILE (Trade) (10:15 AM) —I move:

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to repeal the Dried Vine Fruits Equalisation Act 1978 and amend the Pig Industry Act 1986. The repeal of the Dried Vine Fruits Equalisation Act 1978 will cease the current equalisation of export returns for dried vine fruits from 1 January 1999. As equalisation currently occurs over the course of a season, with returns calculated at the last export of fruit from that season, the repeal allows for the continued operation of equalisation for the previous—that is, 1998—season.

The dried vine fruits industry is the only commodity which continues to operate an equalisation scheme. The industry now contends that, in the prevailing market circumstances, equalisation arrangements are inappropriate, and mask market signals and inhibit industry and marketing innovation. The industry peak body, the Australian Dried Fruits Association, has requested the termination of the scheme.

The purpose of the amendments to the Pig Industry Act 1986 is to replace reference to the former National Meat Processors Association in the act with reference to the Australian Food Council's Processed Meats Forum, which is now the meat processors' representative body. The bill provides for a nominee of the Australian Food Council's Processed Meats Forum to be nominated to the selection committee for the Australian Pork Corporation; and for the Australian Food Council Processed Meats Forum to be defined as an `eligible industry body', in lieu of the disbanded National Meat Processors Association.

In October 1997, the National Meat Processors Association agreed to disband, with all functions and future deliberations on issues affecting the processed meats industry being dealt with by the `Australian Food Council Processed Meats Forum'. The amendment will allow the establishment of a new Australian Pork Corporation Selection Committee, comprising a presiding member, two members from the Pork Council of Australia, and one member from the Australian Food Council Processed Meats Forum. Once validly constituted, the Australian Pork Corporation Selection Committee can exercise its powers in nominating persons to fill vacancies on the Australian Pork Corporation Board.

The amendments will also allow for the Australian Food Council Processed Meats Forum to be defined as an `eligible industry body', thereby obliging the Australian Pork Corporation to consult with the forum before approaching the minister on issues relating to the making of regulations, prescribing levy amounts, formulating or revising a corporate plan or annual operational plan, and the appointment of the Australian Pork Corporation company auditor. I commend the bill to the House and present the explanatory memorandum.

Debate (on motion by Ms Macklin) adjourned.