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Thursday, 18 November 1993
Page: 3153

Senator BURNS (3.31 p.m.) —The Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs is at the moment holding inquiries into two pieces of legislation relating to AQIS charges. As a result of that, we have visited a number of meat processing plants. I see Senator Crane is leaving us.

Senator Crane —I'll come back. I have a meeting to go to and I'll be late for the meeting, but I will come back.

Senator BURNS —Good—not that Senator Crane should be late, but that he should come back. During those visits, we talked about changes which were taking place in the meat processing industry, which are very important. I agree with what Senator Crane said about some of the changes that must take place, but my point is that I made certain that I asked questions of the various processors about the role of the meatworkers union and of Wally Curran in this process. On one occasion I was told that Wally Curran had had his share of knocks, but it was found that he was a decent person to deal with, and was very cooperative and supportive of changes in the meat industry.

  On another occasion, a large processor said that Wally Curran did not necessarily agree with his views, but recently an agreement was made with Curran and the AMIEU which would operate within that particular meatworks. It was an enterprise agreement that was working well and they had great hopes that it would go a long way towards the sorts of changes that they believe are needed in the meat industry. On no occasion during the discussions I had with those people did I get anything but a positive response with regard to the role of the meatworkers at this time, their approach to the changes in the meat industry and Wally Curran's role as leader of that the AMIEU.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.