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Wednesday, 23 May 1973
Page: 2502

Dr PATTERSON (Dawson) (Minister for Northern Development) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to seek the approval of the Parliament for conversion to metric measure of the definitions of a 'winery' and a distillery', and for conversion into metric measure of the maximum rates of charges applicable to the grape intake of such establishments, under the Wine Grapes Charges Act 1929-1969. This Government has accepted that Australia should convert to use of the metric system as the system of measurement of physical quantities.

Some Australian industries have already converted to metric measurement, and many others are well-advanced in their conversion programs. The wine industry is well to the forefront in this sphere and I understand that operations at all wine processing establishments are expected to be converted by 1 July next to measurement by the metric system. The present Bill provides for amendment of the Wine Grapes Charges Act 1929-1969 in the ways necessary to give effect to metric conversion. One change now proposed is to substitute the nearest rational metric quantity, 10 tonnes, for the imperial system quantity, 10 tons, of annual grape intake which now determines whether an establishment is a winery or distillery for the purpose of making charges under this Act.

A second proposed change provides that the maximum rates of charge which may be applied will be converted from $2.50 per ton of fresh grapes and $7.50 per ton of dried grapes to the same amounts per tonne. This change also substitutes the nearest rational metric quantity, the tonne, for the imperial unit, the ton, on which these charges are based. I may add that the use of the tonne as the basic unit in this case results in a small increase of about H per cent in the maximum rates of charges. Funds raised under the Wine Grapes Charges Act provide virtually the whole income of the Australian Wine Board, which is responsible, inter alia, for controlling and promoting the export of Australian wine. I commend the Bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr Bonnett) adjourned.

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