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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 4848

LEVIES ON CATTLE PRODUCERS

Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 13/10/1978

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 4848

FOR PRESS 13 OCTOBER 1978
LEVIES ON CATTLE PRODUCERS
The Prime Minister today replied to a request from the Premier
of New South Wales, Mr Wran, not to increase levy contributions
paid by cattle producers towards the cost of animal disease
eradication programmes.
The Government has clearly stated that it would not increase
charges at this stage, and would ensure that producers had
the opportunity to recover from the recent recession in the
industry before the matter was looked at again.
This Government has provided substantial assistance to producers
to alleviate personal hardship in the industry during the recent
industry recession. The beef industry incentive payments
scheme has provided direct cash payments to producers who have
carried out recognised disease control or husbandry procedures
beteen 23 September 1977 and 22 September 1978.
Total payments to producers under this programme already exceed
$ 100 million. A total of $ 28 million in concessional carry-on
loans under the rural adjustement scheme was made available to
beef producers during 1976/ 77 and 1977/ 78, and further assistance
is available in 1978/ 79.
To supplement this direct income support, the meat export
inspection charge was suspended from 1 March 1976 with an
estimated saving to producers of $ 28 million in 1977/ 78 alone.
In conjunction with the Queensland Government a moratorium has
been agreed on for loan repayments by Brigalow Lands settlers,
according to need, for an average of 2 years. The Commonwealth
Government has also offered to extend the Queensland Government's term
for repayment of Commonwealth loans by a further 7 years, on the
expectation that a similar extension will be offered to the
settlers. The Commonwealth Government has offered to the States
on a cost-sharing basis a programme of financial assistance
to cattle producers in Northern Australia affected by bluetongue
virus control measures.
The Government has also taken a number of steps to improve
beef marketing. Up to $ 6 million will 1'. e provided towards the
capital cost of implementing carcass classification in cattle
meat chains and the implications of weight and class selling
for cattle, and of possible price stabilisation schemes are
being examined. The Prices Justification Tribunal is examining
costs and margins at every stage of beef marketing, and its
report will provide a valuable insight into beef marketing costs.
./ 2

In respect of export markets, the Government has repeatedly
made representations at the highest level to obtain access to
traditional markets which impose quota restrictions on
Australian beef. The recent increase in the permitted level
of 1978 U. S. beef imports is an encouraging development.
Special efforts are being made to stimulate the exports of meat
to the Middle East.
These measures represent a very substantial programme of
Government support for the beef industry, and a recognition of
the problems faced by producers over the past few years.
The Prime Minister advised the Premier that he should appreciate
that the Government is very conscious of the need for producers
to recover from the recession in the industry, and should know
full well that it had no intention of increasing the levies
referred to in his telex message while producers are still
recovering from those difficult years.
I
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Transcript 4848