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Australian Agricultural Council: restriction of dairy production

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The Australian Agricultural Council meeting at Mt. Hagen today endorsed the action of the Australian dairy industry in deciding to exercise voluntary restraints on production.

The Council also welcomed a statement by the Victorian Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Chandler, that apart from 16 dairy farms at Rochester which had already been allocated no further dairy fern development would take place in Victoria for

the time being. Victoria had taken this decision as part of the overall arrangements aimed at improving the situation of the dairy industry.

The Acting Chairman of the Council, Mr. Nixon, said Council had iscussed the announcement by the Minister for Primary Industry, Mr. Anthony, of the decision reached by the Commonwealth Government on the 1970-71 arrangements for the dairy industry. These arrangements provided for payment by the Commonwealth to the

industry of bounties totalling }464 million for the year. This would allow returns to be maintained at 3 .4 cents per pound, providing the industry limited its butter production to 220,000 tons and cheese production to 70,000 tons. The $464 million would include the existing $27 million bounty on butter and cheese plus an additional grant of $19-1 million as bounty on butter and cheese and skim milk powder, casein and other non-fat products.

Mr. Nixon said the Agricultural Council today had requested the Commonwealth to expedite the examination that the Commonwealth had announced it would undertake on the industry's request that a restriction be placed on the import of cheese into Australia until Australian milk production levels had been adjusted to meet domestic and overseas market requirements for dairy products.

The Council also had asked each State Government to examine the Australian dairy industry Councils requests for legislation to restrict the colouring of cooking margarine and to improve labelling requirements; and for licensing of all dairy farms, the issuance of any new licences to be by agreement of the Australian. Agricultural Council. All States had undertaken to inform the Commonwealth as soon as possiblethe reactions to these industry proposals.

Mt. Nixon said these matters, which related to the

industry's longer-term proposals for production control, would be further discussed at the next meeting of the Council. He said Ministers had strongly supported the need for the industry

to act quickly to put its house in order, particularly in view of the likely effects of Britain's possible entry into the European Economic Community.

Mt. Hagen 30th dune, 1970