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Monday, 9 December 2002
Page: 7365

Senator CHERRY (12:53 PM) —The Democrats also will be moving to delete from the bill the provisions relating to industry development plans. The bill seeks to enact the Productivity Commission's recommendation to scrap the requirement that a carrier develop and report against industry development plans. The Democrats oppose the removal of this requirement. We note the commission's conclusion that it could find no compelling argument for continuing industry development plans, because commitments, apart from R&D, were formerly voluntary, and benefits including information on industry-wide investment and product development are not really part of the instrument. But, while we accept these arguments to a degree, in our view the appropriate course is not to scrap the plans but to re-evaluate and streamline the criteria. In particular, we believe that the plans should focus on R&D and technology transfer issues. Accordingly, we will look carefully at future legislation that sets out to improve the strategic focus of plans. I note that on 21 June the minister outlined streamlined ICT industry development arrangements. Whilst some of those measures are welcome and clearly overlap with the elements and scope of IDPs, we do not see them as a replacement.