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Wednesday, 13 May 1987
Page: 3085


Mr GRACE —My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce. I refer the Minister to the management and investment companies program set up by the Government some three years ago to stimulate a venture capital market in Australia to invest in the growth of innovative businesses. Can the Minister report on the effectiveness of the program in encouraging the success of young, export oriented firms? Has the program assisted small business firms.


Mr BARRY JONES —I thank the honourable member for his question. The management and investment companies program was set up by the Government some three years ago, following the presentation of the Espie report-which, to be fair, was commissioned by the previous Government when my predecessor David Thomson was Minister-to stimulate a venture capital market in Australia to invest in the growth of innovative businesses. The scheme has been a very considerable success. Last week Senator Button announced that the Management and Investment Companies Licensing Board had passed two significant century marks. $100m has now been invested and been committed to over 100 Australian businesses. In the 33 months that the MIC program has been running the 11 management and investment companies have invested and firmly committed $102m, $91m in equity and $11m in loans. In total, 104 businesses have received MIC funds as well as vital management support in areas such as marketing, production, financial control and quality control, all of them necessary for a successful business. Often such support was the vital factor missing in setting up new innovative firms.

The MIC Licensing Board was set up by the Government to promote the establishment of a private sector venture capital market in Australia and to encourage the provision of management skills and equity finance to young, innovative, export oriented, fast growing businesses.

The one hundredth business to receive MIC support was Photo Advertising International Ltd, makers of advertising display panels. It has started a world-wide sales drive for its `day/nite display system' which displays high quality photo images under lit and unlit conditions in ultra slim light boxes. The company has won an Australian industrial design award and holds patents for the product in 26 countries. The Bureau of Industry Economics is currently reviewing the venture capital market in Australia and the MIC program. The review will assess the extent to which the venture capital market in Australia has developed since the introduction of the MIC program and the role of the program in addressing any deficiencies in that market. The review is to be completed by July of this year. The Government deserves some congratulations for what I believe has been an outstanding success.