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Thursday, 20 April 1972
Page: 1277

Senator TOWNLEY (TASMANIA) - My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, is in several parts. Firstly, is the Government aware that the blue pea industry has in past years meant an inflow of about $400,000 to the north west of Tasmania? Secondly, is the Government aware that New Zealand blue peas are being dumped in Australia and are being allowed to undersell the local produce? Thirdly, is the Government aware that its failure to implement the restricting provisions of the trade agreement with New Zealand is likely to result in the total destruction of the blue pea industry in Tasmania? Fourthly, will the Minister say whether the Government intends to take any action on this matter?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - The Government is fully aware, and I think this chamber is aware, of the importance of the blue pea industry to Tasmania. Representatives from that part of the country have time and again told us strongly about this industry and its importance to that State. The only answer I can give the honourable senator at this stage is that on the pea and bean panel which has been set up by the Commonwealth Government there are representatives of the industry, the processors, and officials from the Department of Primary Industry and the Department of Trade and Industry. I understand that a similar sort of panel operates in New Zealand. There is also a joint panel of the New Zealand-Australian Free Trade Agreement; its members met only recently to look at all the reciprocal trade between these 2 countries, and no doubt the Australian panel drew the attention of the New Zealand panel to this particular matter. Following a question by Senator Lillico last week I have asked the Department of Trade and Industry to give me further information on this industry. As soon as it comes to hand I will let the honourable senator have it.

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