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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 28

Mr NIXON (Gippsland) (Minister for Primary Industry) - by leave - Honourable members will recall that on 17 April 1980 1 undertook to make a statement once all investigations into the operations of Asia Dairy Industries (Hong Kong) Limited had been completed. Regrettably, all investigations into this matter have not yet been completed, but I believe it is appropriate for me to advise the House as to the latest position.

As a result of a request by my predecessor in March last year, the accounts and records of ADI, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Australian Dairy Corporation have been examined by the Commonwealth Auditor-General. The purpose of seeking the audit inspection was to assist the Government in its consideration of the future role and operations of ADI. The reports of the Auditor-General revealed certain deficiencies in the financial and managerial control of the company, and questioned the appropriateness of certain past expenditure. I have previously stated that the deficiencies in the financial and managerial control were examined by a committee established by the Australian Dairy Corporation. Action has been taken, or is being taken, to rectify the deficiencies and ensure that the company operates in a normal commercial fashion.

The only matter now outstanding in respect of the audit of ADI relates to the appropriateness of certain past expenditure by the former chairman of the company. This matter has been the subject of detailed examination by officials. I have received legal advice from the Commonwealth

Crown Solicitor and the Attorney-General (Senator Durack) to the effect that certain matters arising out of this detailed examination should be reported to the police for further investigation. Upon receipt of that advice, and at my request, my Department has reported the matters in question to the Australian Federal Police for detailed investigation. In light of this, it would be improper to consider either tabling the AuditorGeneral's reports, or comment further on the matter. As I have said in the past, I will make a statement on all aspects of the audit inspection when all investigations are completed.

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