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Tuesday, 3 June 1969

Senator McKELLAR (New South Wales) (Minister for Repatriation) - in reply - The Chicken Meat Research Bill and the Meat Chicken Levy Bill are not subject to the amendments proposed by the Opposition. They will apply only to the Meat Chicken Levy Collection Bill. I wish to reply to some of the matters that have been raised during the debate. Senator Webster inquired about the amounts that are to go into the research fund. I inform him that they will consist of, firstly, an amount from the Consolidated Revenue Fund equal to the levy raised from the industry; secondly, amounts contributed by the Commonwealth equal to one-half of the expenditure, up to an amount equal to the contribution by the industry; thirdly, any donation by people interested in furthering research; fourthly, amounts recouped by the sale of chickens or eggs, or by the sale of assets; and fifthly, interest.

Senator Raeand Senator O'Byrne expressed concern about water and other things that are found in frozen chickens. Senator O'Byrne sounded a warning to the chicken producers.I understand that the water content of chicken frozen for home consumption is a matter for the States. It is already controlled, as Senator Rae said, in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. I understand that legislation is under consideration in New South Wales and that the position in Western Australia is being considered. The Australian Agricultural Council also is looking at the matter. The question was raised as to what would happen in the Australian Capital Territory if the States took action to prevent excessive water content. The answer is that the Territory would fall into line with the States. Senator Lawrie said that he supported the proposals contained in the legislation and pointed out that the Bills had been introduced at the request of the industry.

Civil liberties have been referred to. I remind honourable senators who are still a little fearful about any curtailment of civil liberties that Senator Little provided a rather good explanation of certain proposals being contained in the legislation. Senator Cormack said by way of interjection that similar provisions were contained in legislation relating to other commodity boards. We could scarcely expect this industry to be singled out for exclusion from such provisions. I shall not go into the matter in detail now, I shall be able to do so at the Committee stage when the amendments are moved.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee

The Bill.

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