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Tuesday, 23 August 1983
Page: 115

Question No. 294

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Communications, upon notice, on 26 May 1983:

(1) What Australian industry participation and/or offset purchase arrangements are presently in force with (a) Government, (b) statutory authority or (c) private sector contractors within his area of responsibility.

(2) Can he indicate (a) who are the parties to these contracts, (b) what (i) level of technology and (ii) value they are, (c) what is the present stage of progress and (d) what new arrangements, are presently being negotiated.

Mr Duffy —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) It is Commonwealth policy that, for all major purchases of goods and services by departments and authorities which are totally or partly imported ( that is valued above $1m, with an imported content exceeding $500,000) the overseas supplier is required to provide Australian industry with acceptable offset work. The Offset Program seeks to secure workload which will broaden the capabilities of Australian industries which are of technological or defence significance and stimulate technology advancement in Australian industries. Communications portfolio authorities are required by their respective legislation, and AUSSAT Pty Ltd by its Memorandum of Association, to obtain ministerial approval before entering into contracts exceeding a specified amount -$500,000 for Telecom Australia, Australia Post, AUSSAT Pty Ltd, the Overseas Telecommunications Commission and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, $250, 000 for the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal, and $100,000 for the Special Broadcasting Service. Compliance with the Government's offsets policy is a normal pre-requisite to ministerial approval.

(2) Information on tenders invited and contracts arranged by Communications portfolio authorities is published in general issues of the Gazette of the Commonwealth of Australia. Details of Australian industry participation for particular purchases are usually available from the authorities and any offset arrangements against those purchases could be sought from the Department of Defence Support, which is responsible for administering the Offsets Program. Information on the present stage of progress of tenders invited and offsets arrangements being negotiated are generally of a commercial-in-confidence nature .