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Tuesday, 7 May 1985
Page: 1479

Senator CHANEY (Leader of the Opposition)(10.14) —I immediately indicate the support of the Opposition for the second amendment. If I recall correctly, the point was raised by Senator Jack Evans in some discussions we shared with departmental officials. It seemed a very sensible point and I am pleased that the Government has brought it forward. I have no doubt that Senator Jack Evans is also.

Senator Button —It could be known as the Senator Jack Evans amendment.

Senator CHANEY —I just wished to acknowledge that he raised it and I thought at the time that it was worth support. I am pleased that the Government has picked it up. I would appreciate some slight further explanation before committing the Opposition to supporting the amendment to proposed new section 26B. My concern about 26B has been the ability to exclude from eligibility people who ought to be eligible. This is the point on which I seek further advice from the Minister. As I understand the definition of 'eligible company', once a company is actually engaged in the manufacturing in Australia of eligible products, proposed new section 26B is irrelevant. In other words, if a company is actually engaged in manufacturing any of the things described as 'eligible products', it simply is eligible and it becomes a matter of its coming forward and seeking grants and an agreement from the Authority. The relevance of 26B is only for those companies which are not in fact manufacturing eligible products currently and which are potential new entrants. But if a company, for example, was declared under proposed new section 26B to be eligible and subsequently entered into the manufacture of eligible products, the proposed new addition would in fact be irrelevant because the company would retain its eligible status once it had entered into the process of manufacture. Whether or not it got a grant is an entirely separate matter.

If that is the situation-in other words, if the amendment applies only in the case of a company which says it intends to enter into manufacture but fails to do so, quite apart from its failure to enter into an agreement-I think the Opposition should support the amendment. If it is otherwise, I am less sure because I cannot see why there is any need to revoke the declaration, given that the question of whether or not there is going to be any grant is a quite separate matter for application, agreement and so on. I just want to be satisfied that, in the circumstances covered by 26B, if a company is declared eligible and subsequently actually becomes a manufacturer of eligible products but has not entered into an agreement, it will not be touched by the proposed addition.