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Wednesday, 27 February 1985
Page: 277

Senator JONES —by leave-The Standing Committee on Science, Technology and the Environment has resolved to resume the inquiry into new technology and employment under the terms of reference first given it by the Senate on 15 June 1984, namely:

The adequacy of current mechanisms to investigate and monitor the introduction and current application of new technologies, and the need for a national technology assessment system better able to provide information and advice in relation to:

(a) effects on unemployment, manpower planning and industrial relations;

(b) extent of Australian control of technological change; and

(c) policy planning for the purpose of encouraging, or directing technological change in Australia.

A large number of submissions have already been received by the Committee, and a program of hearings is planned to commence soon. We hope that through the consideration and discussion of the evidence the inquiry receives, the following general issues will be highlighted: the community concerns, such as about unemployment, in relation to an unmonitored acceleration of technological change; the problems of actually knowing what is happening in the field of application of technology; the problems and potentials for providing advice and analysis, at a sufficiently early stage in a phase of technological change, to prevent the worst negative effects from occurring; and the potential for encouraging particular directions in technological change, including through support for research and development, which may be revealed in the discussion, of the possibility of monitoring the introduction of changes and identifying trends.