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Tuesday, 10 August 2004
Page: 25978

Senator HILL (Minister for Defence) (1:07 PM) —These are groups set up to facilitate the administration of the agreement—a broader policy type committee and a technical specialist group to support that committee. As I said in answer to a question from Senator Nettle, we are not looking at the quarantine issues in a vacuum; we are looking at the background of trade. The objective, obviously, is to ensure that protective measures are the least trade restrictive options. That is understandable because one of our objectives is to expand trade. But our overriding objective is not to expand trade at the risk of reducing our quarantine protection regime. That is why these committees have no capacity to change Australia's quarantine laws and furthermore, as I also said in answer to Senator Nettle, there is not even a dispute settlement mechanism on quarantine provided for within the agreement.