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Friday, 28 November 1986
Page: 4029

(Question No. 4351)

Mr Ruddock asked the Prime Minister, upon notice, on 19 August 1986:

(1) Has he received a report by the Australian Science and Technology Council entitled ``Government Purchasing and Offsets Policies in Industrial Innovation''; if so, what action has been taken in response to the report.

(2) Has specific action been taken to implement each of the recommendations; if so, what action.

(3) If not, why not.

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

(1) Yes. On 22 October 1984 I referred the report to my colleagues, the then Ministers for Administrative Services, Industry and Commerce, Trade, Communications, Science and Technology, Finance and Defence Support with a request that it be given consideration in the development of policies within their portfolios. Since then considerable activity has taken place in the development of industry policy and account has been taken of the broad thrust of the recommendations, to the extent practicable, in relevant policy activity.

(2) Of the fourteen recommendations in the report, eight have been implemented substantially, four remain under consideration pending the examination by the Committee of Review on Government High Technology Purchasing Arrangements (the Inglis Committee), and two have been rejected, viz Nos. 7 and 13.

(3) In regard to Recommendation No. 7 payment by the Commonwealth is generally already consistent with accepted commercial practice with respect to business dealings with the public sector. The use of bank guarantees is covered in the Commonwealth Purchasing Manual and the standard conditions of tender and contract. Securities for advance or progress payments in the form of bank guarantees, letters of credit, or bonds are accepted by the Commonwealth.

In regard to Recommendation No. 13, although the Department of Local Government and Administrative Services is required to collect statistics on Commonwealth purchasing, it has not attempted to maintain an information base on ownership of contractors because to do so would be adminstratively difficult, be expensive to maintain, and not be cost effective.