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Pork industry launches targeted seats campaign.

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Pork Council of Australia Limited

A.C.N 055 522 346


9 September 1998

For immediate use




Australia's pork producers today commenced a major political campaign targeting government held seat s across regional Australia.


The targeted seats includes the electorate of Gwydir held by the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, Mr John Anderson and Wide Bay, held by the Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs, Mr Warren Truss. 13 other seats across four states will also be targeted.


The campaign is a result of an ongoing battle with the federal government over its failure to implement WTO legal measures to limit the unimpeded importation of pigmeat.


An industry survey last month found that more than 50% of producers surveyed were preparing to leave the industry. 87% identified the government's trade policy as the direct cause.


“We used the information gained in this survey to convince the federal government of the need to impose the WTO legal tariff on pork imports to allow the industry time to adjust to the international market" said Mr Peter Brechin, President of the Pork Council of Australia.


In a letter on August 28 the PCA told the Prime Minister that:


the industry recognises the ulti mate benefits of adopting world's best practice and actively participating in the global marketplace. The industry also understands and accepts the real pain and the potential gain associated with the process of industry rationalisation.


While pork prices have recently recovered to a point which is at or near cost of production levels, a record monthly import figure of 1031 tonnes for June and a follow up of 931 tonnes in July indicates we are more than likely facing a re-run of what happened during the same period last year.


That being the case, we believe we have no alternative but to press for the implementation of the five point plan which we have consistently sought from your government.


Mr Brechin said that the press and TV campaign focuses on the l oss of regional employment and a government which is not listening to the real concerns of rural Australia.


“Our industry’s plight is symptomatic of the level of insecurity and disillusionment that many rural and regional Australians are living with” he said.


The industry’s advertising campaign will be backed up by intense producer lobbying in targeted seats.


“Coalition members should be in no doubt about the PCA's intentions”.


“We are looking no further than this coming election. If the Australian pork industry is forced under by this Government's policies, it will take as many coalition seats with it as possible” he said.


Mr Brechin said that the industry would be approaching alternate parties to state their policies in regard to the industry’s situation.


“This is the next step in the PCA's campaign to secure a future for the pork industry in this country” he said.


“We have the will and the necessary resources via the Australian Pork Industry Fighting Fund to mount a professional and damaging campaig n”.


Pork Industry Five Point Plan:


1. Urgent provisional safeguard action for 200 days by the application of a tariff of $2 per kg on imported uncooked pigmeat pursuant to Article 6 of the GATT Agreement on Safeguards.


2. A TTQ (Temporary Tariff Quota) for 4 years on pigmeat imports set at 4,000 tonnes at current bound rates of duty with imports thereafter at a duty of $2 per kg following industry agreed public investigation procedures by the Productivity Commission inquiry announced by the government on 10 June 1998.


3. Urgent review of the industry’s Exceptional Circumstances relief request under the Rural Adjustment Scheme.


4. Commitment by government to on-going pigmeat industry international competitiveness, structural adjustment and export develop ment assistance over the 4 year period of TTQ structural adjustment.


5. Establishment of industry / government consultative processes to restore industry and investor confidence.


Media Contact: Michael Parolin Ph: 02-6273 5222 Mob: 0418 697 595