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Seminar looks at export opportunities for chicken meat

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Media Release John Anderson ISSSiilSgSS,' DPIE98/60A 14 May 1998



A high-level seminar being held today in Canberra will help ensure Australia's chicken meat industry becomes a vibrant and innovative exporter, the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, John Anderson, said today.

Mr Anderson said the Chicken Meat Export Seminar, which has been jointly organised by the Australian Chicken Meat Federation, Austrade and the Department of Primary Industries and Energy, has brought together Australia's major chicken meat processors to help identify export

opportunities, particularly in Asia.

"This Seminar is not only an excellent example of the Government's willingness to work with industry, but also of its commitment to encouraging the chicken meat industry to lift its export focus," Mr Anderson said. "Despite the economic downturn in Asia, there are still market opportunities in the region and this seminar will help the industry clearly identify its export priorities.

"But developing and maintaining export markets is hard work. An international benchmarking study in 1997, revealed that Australia lags behind rivals such as the United States both in terms of price competitiveness and efficiency.

"If best practice is adopted across the industry, Australia will be within striking distance of the US. We still have work to do to become internationally competitive, but the research shows it can be done.

"I have approved up to $179,000 in funding for a project that will enable individual firms within the industry to benchmark their competitiveness against industry best practice. Once these firms get an understanding of how they rate, they can then develop appropriate strategies to help them achieve best practice."

Mr Anderson said the funding, which must be matched dollar-for-dollar by industry, is part of the Government's Agriculture - Advancing Australia initiative.

"The Government is committed to working with industry to seeing exports become a major focus for the Australian chicken meat industry," Mr Anderson said. "I believe initiatives, such as today's seminar and the benchmarking study, as well as wider Government moves to reduce red tape and provide the right environment for growth, will help the chicken meat industry become world competitive. And that means jobs and growth for rural and regional Australia."

Further inquiries:

Mr Anderson's office Robert Haynes (02) 6277 7520 or 0419 493511 DPIE Richard Sisson (02) 6272 5558


Levy Coate

Another important area of 'detail' outlined by ASFA for both the funds and their members is the likely cost impost of the new levy arrangements. These levies are imposed on the industry to cover the costs of regulation by the two new regulators, APRA and ASIC.

ASFA says that its initial calculations indicate excluded funds will pay less, but medium and large superannuation funds are likely to pay considerably more if the relatively low proposed limit on the maximum levy payable by banks applies.

The draft legislation provides for a maximum cap of $500,000 a year for super funds -16 times the current maximum. No mechanisms for setting the rates have been detailed.

ASFA says it would be unfair to use retirement savings to pay the costs of regulating banks. ASFA is scheduled to discuss these issues with the Federal Government.

Other key Budget issues highlighted by ASFA are:

* members of excluded funds will be required to be a trustee of the fund and either a partner, director or trustee of the employer/sponsor or a relative. This will provide protection for employees. * the relationship of the new tax penalties to other monetary and

imprisonment penalties already under SIS for trustees needs to be clarified. * tax assistance for dealing with the Millennium Bug and faster tas depreciation of software are welcome but tax assistance is also justified for new reporting and other requirements associated with the super tax surcharge. * funding for public education campaigns directed at both employees and employers to support the introduction of choice of superannuation fund still remains inadequate.

Further Information: ,

Philippa Smith · ASFA Chief Executive -(02) 9264 9300 Tony Rasman · Stratcom Communique Australia. - (02) 9361 0335/0418 20 8770