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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 21

(Question No. 4500)

Mr Jacobi asked the Minister for Communications, upon notice, on 16 September 1986:

(1) Are Australian manufacturers of high technology equipment effectively excluded from tendering for government contracts because specifications are written around the proprietary equipment of overseas manufacturers instead of specifications written around a functional or performance requirement.

(2) Will he refuse to endorse recommendations for the purchase of foreign equipment in cases where Australian produced equipment fulfils the basic requirements.

(3) Does the requirement for proven performance in high technology equipment specifications discriminate against Australian manufacturers; if so, will he introduce procedures so that Australian manufacturers are given opportunities to tender for this type of equipment on an otherwise equal basis with other suppliers.

Mr Duffy —The following answer to the honourable member's question is partly based on advice received from authorities within the Communications portfolio:

(1) No. Specifications for high technology equipment are written around the functional and performance requirements of the equipment.

(2) Preference is always given to Australian produced equipment that fulfils performance and reliability requirements as long as it is reasonably economic to do so.

(3) No. My Department and the authorities within the portfolio already support the objective of enhancing Australia's capabilities in producing high technology products and they encourage Australian initiatives which are practical and commercially viable.