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CHAIRMAN --I call the Committee to order. This morning the Committee will commence with the Industry, Technology and Commerce portfolio estimates and later conclude the examination of the estimates for the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Estimates for CSIRO will be considered tomorrow.

Appropriation Bills Nos. 1 and 2 1992-93 contain proposed expenditure of $2,462,160,000 in respect of this portfolio. A proposed hearing order has been circulated to members and, if there is no objection, we will commence with program 3. When departmental officers are first called to give evidence, could they please state their names. This will assist Hansard in reporting the proceedings.

I welcome the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Jim Button, and departmental officers. Minister, do you wish to make an opening statement?

Senator Button --No thank you, Mr Chairman.

Senator O'CHEE --Mr Chairman, I have one question before we start on this program. Normally we deal firstly with things like consultants and so on. I understand that program 1 is to be dealt with later on. At what point will general questions relating to the Department be raised, thus enabling the raising of any necessary questions on consultants?

CHAIRMAN --We would normally deal with them at the end of the outriders. So I assume it will be just before we deal with program 1, if that meets the convenience of the Committee.

Senator O'CHEE --That is fine with me, provided that we are assured the relevant officers who can answer the questions will be here at that point in time.

CHAIRMAN --If there are any questions on any of the items before program 1 on the program you have before you, they should be asked under that program heading, otherwise those officers will be discharged. For example, officers will be discharged after we have dealt with program 5--textile, clothing and footwear.