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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 24

Mr BAUME (MACARTHUR, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the Minister for Primary Industry aware of some public concern about the question of plant variety rights in Australia? What action does he intend to take on this matter?

Mr NIXON - The proposal for a plant variety rights scheme first came forward as a result of representations from the seed and plant breeders associations around Australia some years ago, and has been considered over the years by the Australian Agricultural Council. It was decided that legislation ought to be enacted. As a result of the differences of views between the seed industries I told them that they would have to come to a consensus on what form the legislation ought to take before I was prepared to move forward with the proposed legislation. In the event, they have since agreed but the time had passed for the introduction of legislation into the Parliament this session. I informed them then that I would be prepared to introduce the legislation in the autumn session of Parliament next year.

Mr Young - You will not be able to.

Mr NIXON - I have every confidence that I will be able to. In addition to that, at the Agricultural Council meeting in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago, I gave the State Ministers an opportunity to reconsider their previous advice to the former Minister for Primary Industry that they wanted such legislation. But I also told them that the proposed legislation which would be in the House could lie over the winter recess next year and would be debated during the following Budget session. This means that the legislation will be available for public comment and consideration for some months. I think that is a pretty fair way of dealing with a piece of prospectively contentious legislation about which a lot of wrong things have been said.

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