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Friday, 24 August 1984
Page: 358


Senator BOSWELL —My question is directed to the Minister for Industry and Commerce. In view of the fact that the Government has rejected a $550m emergency fund request for the depressed engineering sector made by the Machinery and Metal Engineering Council, will the Minister give favourable consideration to an election promise made by his Prime Minister and Treasurer that an order for five additional patrol boats would be given to North Queensland Engineers and Agents Shipyards Pty Ltd based in Cairns? Is the Minister aware that 700 people are employed by North Queensland Engineers and that their jobs are in danger if the Prime Minister does not honour his election commitment by October this year? Will the Minister urgently take up the matter with his Leader and Treasurer at the earliest opportunity and seek an assurance that his Leader's election promise will be honoured and the jobs of 700 people in North Queensland preserved?


Senator BUTTON —I am not quite sure what the first part of Senator Boswell's question had to do with the second part but I will answer the second part and we will see how we get on. I do not need to consult with the Leader of the Australian Labor Party or with the Treasurer about the matters which Senator Boswell has raised. He suggested that I do that. There have been a number of discussions regarding this matter. A decision will be announced at the appropriate time. I do not propose to take the matter any further than that because it is not a matter about which any honourable senator can come in here and steamroll a government in order to assist a particular company. The matter is fully within the current attention of the Government and a decision will be provided at the appropriate time.