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Tuesday, 14 May 1985
Page: 1912

Senator BUTTON (Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce)(6.04) —With regard to the last remark, that this assistance will go out not in a planned way but in a rout, the proposal in this legislation has its bite over five years. No sudden decision has been made which will affect the industry in one fell swoop, as it were. Senator Archer began by asking whether there has been any impact statement, as he called it. I do not think it would be correct to say that there had been an impact statement. It would be correct to say that this industry has been pretty highly assisted.

The two elements in the Government's package involve the consumer transfer and level of assistance, which we have been talking about in the course of this debate, and the provision of market signals which will particularly affect the more marginal areas of the market. As I think Senator Archer knows, in respect to those areas an adjustment package, the tree pull package if you like, is now the subject of consultation with the States. The Commonwealth is contributing $5m to that. I understand that it would mean a payment to the marginal block owners of $24,000 to $25,000, which in a sense is a structural adjustment package. Of course one can argue that it may not be a perfect package, but I make the point that the issue has been addressed. It is not something which has been done with gay abandon, as might have been implicit in the way Senator Archer put his question.