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Wednesday, 31 May 1972
Page: 3316

Mr LLOYD (MURRAY, VICTORIA) - Is the Minister for Primary Industry aware of rumours being circulated, allegedly by New Zealand dairying interests, including the New Zealand Dairy Board, that Australia is in the process of restricting her dairying industry and will therefore not be able to service long term contracts being offered at the present time? Will the Minister reject any allegations of this nature so that Australian dairy companies will not be disadvantaged in their negotiations for satisfactory long term dairy contracts with other countries? Will the Minister ensure that the New Zealand Dairy Board is made aware of our position, and will he request the New Zealand Dairy Board to co-operate more with the Australian Dairy Produce Board?

Mr ANTHONY (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Deputy Prime Minister) -I shall answer the question. Some comment was made by a correspondent about this subject. I do not know from where he got his information, but he made a quite unnecessary statement that is causing unnecessary anxiety among some of the people in the Australian dairying industry. Last week I had talks with the New Zealand Minister for Overseas Trade and following those talks I joined him in issuing a statement saying that we would endeavour to set up a Government and industry panel to promote co-operation and the exchange of information on mar keting in third markets. To avoid any cutthroat competition or confusion in the market it was agreed that there would be a very close understanding between the 2 Governments. With Britain going into the European Common Market and with the likelihood of both Australia and New Zealand having difficulty in disposing of their excess production, it is quite vital that we work more closely together. But a suggestion that we would cut our production back for the benefit of New Zealand is quite wrong. We have been aiming to create a mechanism whereby Australia would be able to control her situation if we got into difficult marketing circumstances. That is what the Minister for Primary Industry has been endeavouring to do, and I hope that he will come to some arrangement and agreement with the industry before long. There has also been some rumour, a mischievous rumour, that New Zealand might hope to get dairy pro, ducts - butter - into Australia. Anybody who talks this way does not understand the stabilisation and orderly marketing system in this country, which could not allow any imports to necessitate still further exports to other markets. Our orderly marketing arrangements are complicated. They depend on complementary legislation of all State governments.

Mr Uren - Not only does the Country Party gerrymander the electorate, it takes up all the time of Parliament as well.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Reid will cease interjecting.

Mr Uren - Why does he not-

Mr SPEAKER -Order! If the honourable member for Reid does not heed my warning I shall deal with him. I warned him earlier this afternoon.

Mr ANTHONY - This continual interruption from the Labor Party indicates either a lack of interest in something that worries a big sector of the rural community or an attempt on the part of the honourable member for Reid to defend the statement by the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions that he hoped that New Zealand butter would come into Australia.

Mr Charles Jones - I take a point of order. The Labor Party is interested in the problems of the dairying industry. What we are sick and tired of is this continual

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Newcastle will resume his seat. What he has stated does not constitute a point of order.

Mr ANTHONY - It is not my custom to give Dorothy Dix questions out for people to ask me, and this one is not such a question either. However, I can understand the honourable member for Murray, who comes from one of the best dairying electorates in Australia, being very interested in and concerned about this subject. Thank goodness there are a few members in this House who display an interest in the topic. I do want to assure the Australian industry that the New Zealand Ministers understand our domestic marketing arrangements. They know that there is no possibility of New Zealand butter being sold on this market while we arc a major butter exporter, and it would not make sense to displace Australian buller merely to put more on the export market.

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