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Wednesday, 5 September 1984
Page: 475

Senator COLLARD —Is the Minister for Industry and Commerce going to grant by-law exemption to imported grain harvesters of 1,257 millimetre drum width and over, or 100 kilowatt engine power, or will the present Customs duty be replaced by a bounty to assist local manufacturers of harvesters, thus ensuring that local manufacturers are assisted by all taxpayers, rather than merely by the farmers?

Senator BUTTON —The current industry assistance regime in respect of harvesters was put in place following an Industries Assistance Commission inquiry and recommendations from the IAC to the Government. As Senator Collard well knows, a number of rural interests concerned with various aspects of grain harvesting made representations to the IAC regarding the matter, both during the preliminary and the final hearings of the IAC inquiry. The Government acted in response to the IAC inquiry by accepting the recommendations in the IAC report. Since that time there has been-I use the words inoffensively-a continuing campaign to have the IAC's recommendations changed and a regime of industry assistance put in place following that decision. During the course of that campaign I met with grain grower organisations on a number of occasions and have continued to keep the question under review. That situation still exists. The present position is quite clear. If any change can possibly be made or is to be made it will be announced at an appropriate time.