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Wednesday, 13 November 1985
Page: 2097

Senator VIGOR(5.13) —I rise to support what Senator Archer said about the dairy industry. I believe that the report of the Australian Dairy Research Committee indicates that we are taking a really dynamic approach to trying to solve some of our local problems in dairying through vital research programs. However, that is not going to be enough. The trade situation will eventually destroy the dairy industry, if internal squabbles do not. The European Economic Community and the United States of America are willing to break trade agreements and support their products in ways which are not allowed under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Indeed, the EEC is dumping dairy products onto our traditional markets and even here in Australia. So, in fact, when I read with excitement of the research programs which are being carried on by the Australian Dairy Research Committee, which is to be replaced by the Dairy Research Council, the pill is slightly bittered by the fact that we have to face the problems of stabilisation of the industry, the infighting which is taking place between the Victorian industry and other parts of the dairy industry, and the diversion of skilled labour off dairy farms into other areas. I am talking about people who will never return to the industry because once people leave the industry they generally do not go back. I have milked cows and I know how uncomfortable it is.

However, I would like to refer to some of the exciting research developments that are taking place. Our dairy industry has produced some quite exciting products, some of which have been exported. I refer to developments in monitoring cow performance and computer systems for handling dairy figures and feed formulation. We have actually sent two people overseas to adapt some quite sophisticated software which is used for choosing the best diets for cows. We have actually tried to develop new export markets by hydrolysing lactose products-that is milk products. We have broken down the sugar content so that the slightly different metabolisms of certain people in eastern countries can actually absorb the goodness in the milk. As a result we now have the ability to penetrate the South East Asian markets with our milk products. We have managed to develop a process of reverse osmosis for concentrating and producing high quality `evaporated milk' which has not been denatured by the heating process or by the high vacuum processes which were previously used. A great number of on farm measures have improved the quality of pasture management and nutrition control. This has led to better control of diseases without the need to pump our cows full of antibiotics which pass through in the milk to the end consumer. I believe that the Dairy Research Committe is to be congratulated on all these matters. We now have improved quality milk, improved quality control and introduced much more efficient processing. We are actually tack- ling some of the really exciting problems. We are exporting new and exciting products to South East Asian markets. I commend the report.