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Tuesday, 21 June 1994
Page: 1806

(Question No. 1162)

Senator Bell asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, on 4 March 1994:

  (1) What is the purpose of the Industry Commission's inquiry into the tobacco growing and manufacturing industries.

  (2) What is the Commission's schedule of consultations with "other interested groups", particularly groups concerned with the health effects of tobacco smoking.

  (3) What is the justification for an inquiry into "the potential for further development of the [tobacco] industry" when Government action indicates a recognition that tobacco smoking is harmful to health.

  (4) What is Australia's international approach in relation to tobacco and health.

Senator Cook —The Treasurer has provided the following information in answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) The Industry Commission is the Government's principal industry review body. Its role is to expose the costs of economic inefficiencies in Australia and suggest practical ways of improving industry performance.

  The Government's current assistance arrangements for the tobacco industry will terminate on 30 September 1995. The purpose of the Industry Commission inquiry is to advise the Government on the appropriate tariff level to apply after that date to imports of tobacco leaf and manufactured tobacco products. It is normal Government policy to have a Commission inquiry before the Government considers tariff changes to any industry sector. The inquiry will cover a broad range of issues affecting industry competitiveness and assistance arrangements.

  (2) The Commission has visited the following organisations, companies and individuals:

Australian Capital Territory

Australian Medical Association Limited

Australian Tobacco Marketing Advisory Committee

Commonwealth Department of Primary Industries and Energy, Rural Division

Department of Health, Housing and Community Services

Tobacco Research and Development Council


Myrtleford Grower Forum—11 participants

Myrtleford Grower visits—S.La Spina, L. Saccutelli, G. Allan, L. Brandellero, T. and D. Bonacci, G. Lunardi, B. Phillips, L. and G. Cossignani, P. Merlo, J. and D. Moore and B. Burtina

Myrtleford Growers' Selling Centre

Ovens Research Station

Philip Morris Limited

Shire Councils of Bright, Myrtleford and Oxley

Tobacco Growers of Victoria

Tobacco Leaf Marketing Board—Victoria

Victorian Anti-Cancer Council

Victorian Department of Food and Agriculture

Victorian Health Promotion Foundation

Women in Tobacco Group

New South Wales

Coraki growers—(3)

David Collins and Helen Lapsley

Inverell Shire Council

New England Rural Counselling Service

New South Wales Cancer Council

NSW Department of Agriculture

New South Wales Rural Assistance Authority

Rothmans of Pall Mall (Australia) Limited

Shed meeting—Ashford, Tenterfield

Stuart Alexander and Co Pty Ltd

Tobacco Leaf Marketing Board—New South Wales

Tobacco Institute of Australia Limited

W.D. & H.O. Wills (Australia) Limited


Arthur Graham, ATMAC and TRDC Chairman

Dimbulah farm visits, P. De Martin, B. Hensen, W.Dal Santo, E. Crema, and P. Cibau

Discussion forum—T. Gilmore, B. Katter, Mareeba Information and Support Centre, Mareeba

Chamber of Commerce, Australian Tobacco for Australian Consumers Group, G. Gowan (coffee grower), North Queensland Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Young Tobacco Farmers Organisation, MBA Export Cooperative

Glasshouse Mountains farm visits—(2)

Glasshouse Mountains growers meeting—(16) attended

Mareeba farm visits—N. McCart, Cosentino Bros, J. Sabin, and V. Prismic

Mareeba Shire Council

North Queensland Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association

Queensland Department of Primary Industries

Queensland Industry Development Corporation—Brisbane Head office

Queensland Industry Development Corporation—Mareeba Branch office

Queensland Water Resources Commission Tobacco Leaf Marketing Board—Queensland

Southedge Research Station

Organisations and individuals who have made submissions to the inquiry are listed below. Further submissions are likely in response to the Commission's draft report which was released on 7 April 1994.

Agricultural Assessments

Alchin, Terry M.

Australian Council on Smoking and Health (WA) on behalf of:

Australian Cancer Society

Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria

Anti Cancer Foundation of the Universities of South Australia

Cancer Foundation of Western Australia

NSW Cancer Council

ACT Cancer Society Inc

National Heart Foundation

Public Health Association

Royal Australian College of Physicians

Australian Medical Association

Adventist Health

Australian Customs Service

Australian Medical Association Limited

Australian Tobacco for Australian Consumers

Australian Tobacco Marketing Advisory Committee

AWU-FIME Amalgamated Union

Canberra ASH Incorporated

Ciavarella, Mr Cyril

Federated Tobacco Workers Union of Australia

Federation of Australian Retail Tobacco Trade Associations

Gapella, Mr Jorge

Gilmore, Mr T.V.

Gilmore, Mr Tom, MLA

Hei-Tana Management

Joalma Poultry Farm

Katter, Hon Bob MP and Hon Lou Lieberman MP

Kiell Tobacco Pty Limited

Mareeba Chamber of Commerce

Mareeba District Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association

Masterton, Jackie

McDonald, Cr Sally

McLees, Kevin and Maureen

New South Wales Government

Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia

Philip Morris Limited

Queensland Sales Representatives and Commercial Travellers' Guild

Queensland Cancer Fund

Queensland Government

Revrenna, Mrs Caterina

Rindo, George and Lena

Rothmans of Pall Mall (Australia) Limited

Savoy Club Myrtleford Welfare Sub-Committee

Shires of Bright, Myrtleford and Oxley

Smith, Mr Kevin

Smith, L.D. & L.M.

South Queensland Tobacco Growers' Co-Operative Association Limited

Stuart Alexander & Co Pty Ltd

Tobacco Institute of Australia Limited

Tobacco Leaf Marketing Board—New South Wales

Tobacco Leaf Marketing Board—Queensland

Tobacco Leaf Marketing Board—Victoria

Tobacco Growers Council of Australia

Tobacco Growers of Victoria

Tomasoni, Vic and Rosa

WA Tobacco Retailers' Association Inc

WD & HO Wills (Australia) Limited

Women in Tobacco Farming

Young Tobacco Farmers Organisation

  (3) The Government considers tobacco smoking is a major health concern and has taken a wide range of taxation, regulatory and educational measures to discourage tobacco consumption. These measures severely restrict tobacco consumption but do not prohibit it. So long as consumption is not prohibited, the efficiency of its production, the level of protection and the effect on prices (and hence consumption) are relevant matters for Government consideration. Thus, in terms of its industry policy, the Government considers—as noted in the answer to question (1) above—that the tobacco industry should be generally treated like other industries.

  (4) This question is identical to Senate Question 1161, recently asked of the Minister for Health.

Please see Hansard of 3 May 1994, page 122.