§ 72. Mr. C. S. TAYLOR
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the Milk Marketing Board have opened factories in areas already adequately served by creameries in which no milk has remained unsold; that they have induced producers to cease supplying these creameries and to send their milk during the new contract year to the board's factories and, in some cases, have issued contract forms to their own buyers before these were available to other purchasers; that the board are endeavouring to capture the trade of wholesalers of milk by canvassing their retail customers; and will he take steps to prevent this producers' body from further derationalising an industry which, in the interests of the consuming public, urgently requires rationalisation?
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Mr. W. S. Morrison)
Under the powers conferred upon them by the Milk Marketing Scheme, the Milk Marketing Board have established factories for the manufacture of certain milk products. The board have informed me that, with one exception, it is not the case that the factories have been placed in areas already adequately served by private creameries, nor is it the case that they have induced producers to cease supplying existing creameries. The board state that in two areas, through an oversight, contracts were issued to certain, producers a day before they were made generally available, a circumstance which, I am informed, is not likely to recur. The board have also informed me that, in common with other wholesalers of milk, they have canvassed retailers. The board consider it imperative that they should have at least one factory in each of the 11 regions to enable them to discharge satisfactorily their duty of accepting milk from registered producers who are unable to find a buyer on the terms prescribed by the board, to obtain practical experience of the costs of manufacture and of the realisation value of the product when marketed and to assess the utilisation value of milk. The board feel that, in the absence of data obtained from their own experience in the marketing and utilisation of milk, they may be placed at a serious disadvantage in attempting to do justice to 1436 milk producers and, incidentally, to purchasers of milk as well, when negotiating the prices at which milk is to be sold under contract.
§ Mr. TAYLOR
Is it not a fact that certain officials of the Milk Board did abuse certain privileged information which was at their disposal to the sufferance of existing manufacturers
§ Mr. MORRISON
No, Sir, I am not prepared to accept that at all. I would say that if any creamery has a grievance against the action of the board in this matter, machinery exists under the Agricultural Marketing Act, Section 9, by which the matter can be thoroughly investigated.