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Wednesday, 30 April 1980
Page: 1957

Senator MESSNER (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Is the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry aware of a claim recently made by the New South Wales Livestock and Grain Producers Association that Australian consumers pay millions of dollars more for their meat than they should because of a duplicated abattoir inspection process? Is it a fact that, in New South Wales alone, Commonwealth and State inspectors, working side by side, cost consumers and farmers an extra $10m a year? Did a recent Federal committee of inquiry recommend the establishment of a single national body to control meat inspection in Australia? Is a Government decision on this matter close at hand?

Senator SCOTT - I am aware that there are some anomalies in the meat inspection system in Australia which provides for double inspection and which involves a significantly greater cost than there probably should be. I am doubtful whether the increase is as great as Senator Messner indicated. A report known as the Kelly report was brought down and drawn to the Government's attention recently. It stated, amongst other things, that some of the extra cost involved was referable to reinspection of meat at State borders and indeed within States. This sort of additional cost is a matter which comes within the province of the relevant State, not within the province of the Commonwealth. At this stage the Kelly report is with the State Premiers for their investigation and deliberations. It is not possible for the Commonwealth Government to take unilateral action in this matter. The views of the livestock and meat processing industries are also being sought and the final outcome will be pursued as rapidly as possible by the Commonwealth in co-operation with the States.

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