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Monday, 31 March 1980
Page: 1213

Senator DURACK (Western AustraliaAttorneyGeneral) - Before the suspension of the sitting, my colleague, Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle was in the process of reading the second reading speech on my behalf. I shall now continue. Penicillin G is used for the production of the injectable forms and phenethecillin, which is a semi-synthetic penicillin. The amount of penicillin produced in Australia is sufficient to satisfy the annual local demand for human consumption. The Australian demand for human consumption of penicillin G, and penicillin V is around 7,000 kilograms per annum and 15,500 kilograms per annum respectively. The scheme, as proposed by this Bill, will provide for the payment to Australian producers of a bounty at the rate of $38 per kilogram of the weight of the penicillin for penicillin V, and $29 per kilogram of the weight of the penicillin for penicillin G, provided the penicillin is used by the producer, or sold by the producer for use, in the production in Australia of antibiotics, during a period to which the Act applies.

The scheme will operate for 5 years with an initial overall annual limit available for payment of bounty of $250,000 for penicillin G and $650,000 for penicillin V. Provision is made in the Bill for the rates of bounty and the annual limits available for payment of bounty to be varied by regulation if annual reviews reveal the need for such variation following movements in penicillin prices overseas and the level of cost increases in Australia. In addition, because it is intended to coincide the removal of the customs duty on imported penicillin with the introduction of the bounty scheme, clause 2 of the Bill provides for the Act to come into operation on a date to be fixed by proclamation. If production costs and demand in relation to this product remain relatively stable it is estimated that the cost to the Commonwealth of the scheme for the 5 -year period will be about $4.5m. I commend the Bill to honourable senators. ( Quorum formed).

Debate (on motion by Senator Georges) adjourned.

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