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Wednesday, 7 November 1973
Page: 1603


Senator WRIEDT (Tasmania) (Minister for Primary Industry) - I move:

That the request be not pressed.

The House of Representatives has declined to accept the Senate's request of 10 October that clause 6 of the Meat Export Charge Bill be amended so that the rate of charge on beef and veal is reduced from 1 .6c to lc per lb. At the time the Senate amended the Meat Export Charge Collection Bill to include provision for a trust account to be established into which all funds collected from the charge are to be paid. The Government has agreed to an amendment to provide for the establishment of a trust account and this matter will be discussed immediately after the discussion on the Charge Bill is completed.

The Opposition's arguments for a reduction in the charge were based on calculations of their own which showed that the estimated revenue from the charge would exceed estimated costs. During the second reading debate, and again in Committee, it was clearly stated by the Government that the proposed charge had been based on the assumption that the estimated revenue from the charge would match estimated expenditure. Despite the Government's assurance of this, the Opposition has not been prepared to accept it. Details of the estimates made to calculate the charge are as follows: Firstly, for beef and veal, the charge of 1.6c per lb was obtained by dividing the estimated cost to the Australian Government over the 3 years 1973-74 to 1975-76, of export meat inspection- that is $43m- plus the cost of the brucellosis and tuberculosis eradication campaign- $22m- by estimated beef and veal exports over the 33 months period 1 October 1973 to 30 June 1976, that is, 1.8 million tons shipped weight. Secondly, for other meats, the charge of 1.0c per lb was obtained by dividing the estimated inspection cost of $ 14m by the estimated volume of exports of 0.6m tons shipped weight.

The costs to the Government of compensation for tuberculin reactors are not being recouped and consequently these costs have not been included in the calculations. In addition, as I mentioned during the earlier debate on this legislation, overtime costs are also excluded. At present overtime costs for inspection are borne by the particular works which requests inspection staff for overtime work. In the previous debate, the Government went to some length to explain why the Opposition's figures were incorrect. A statement setting out full details of how the rates of 1.6c per lb and 1.0c per lb were calculated has been prepared and I seek leave to incorporate it in Hansard.







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