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Tuesday, 23 August 1983
Page: 80

Question No. 56


Mr McVeigh asked the Minister representing the Minister for Industry and Commerce, upon notice, on 4 May 1983:

(1) Has his attention been drawn to the extra costs to Australian farmers of tariff duties on imported machinery when his Department makes a unilateral decision that duties be imposed on the basis that suitably equivalent machinery is available in Australia.

(2) Is it a fact that Australian primary industry would be more efficient if the guidelines were changed from suitably equivalent to exactly equivalent; if so, will he have the guidelines changed so that Australian primary producers are not disadvantaged.


Mr John Brown —The Minister for Industry and Commerce has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) Duties are imposed by action of the Parliament normally following a public inquiry and recommendation by the Industries Assistance Commission. The Department administering the current by-law system may take action to waive these duties only if suitably equivalent goods are not reasonably available from Australian producers. The Department is careful not to remove or erode the protection the Parliament has accorded to an Australian industry.

(2) The current guidelines are being changed under the new commercial tariff concession system planned for introduction on 1 July 1983. The criteria being prescribed under that system should lead to a clearer understanding of the basis for granting a tariff concession. It will not, however, introduce the concept of exactly equivalent. To do so would lead to a lessening of the protection the Parliament has accorded to sections of Australian industry.