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Friday, 25 September 1970

Dr J F Cairns (LALOR, VICTORIA) irns asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

(1)   What is the agenda and scope of the Industrial Mobilisation Course conducted by bis Department

(2)   Which industries are called upon to provide representatives on this course.

(3)   Does the Defence (Industrial) Committee actually attempt to co-ordinate military and indus-' trial needs.

(4)   If so, is he able to give some examples of this co-ordination.

Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The aim of the Industrial Mobilisation Course is to bring together representatives of industry, State and Commonwealth Departments and the Armed Forces in order to give members an understanding of the economic, industrial and other inter-related matters affecting our national security.

In Victoria and New Wales, courses are conducted over 9 months of the year on a part-time basis, with an extensive programme of lectures, and visits are made to industrial establishments, including two symposia sessions each of 1 week's duration at Service establishments. In addition short courses are held in other States.

The scope of the Industrial Mobilisation Course covers matters such as:

Natural Resources, Secondary Industries, Public Utilities, Manpower, Defence Supply.

(2)   In addition to the Armed Forces, Commonwealth and State Government Departments, and instrumentalities and universities the following industries were invited to provide representation for Industrial Mobilisation Courses in 1970:

Aircraft, Automotive, Banking, Chemical, Computer, Electrical, Engineering, " Food, Medical Equipment and Pharmaceutical products, Metals, Mining, Paper, Petroleum (refining and distribution), Railway, Shipbuilding, Textile, Transport Services.

(3)   It is one of the main functions of the Defence (Industrial) Committee to correlate the material requirements of the Services and the production programmes needed to meet them. The Committee makes recommendations as necessary for the retention of existing capacity and the creation of new capacity. It is required also to consider means by which the private sector of industry can be encouraged to participate more extensively in research and development and production for Australian and overseas needs.

In approaching its task, the Committee is mindful of the importance of the development of a sound Australian Defence Industry base to support our forces. In making its recommendations, the Committee has regard also to such factors as the development of new skills, production methods and the fostering of new technologies which flow to the industry as a result of its involvement in defence contracting and which will be of value in their applications.

(4)   Project N, a project to design and manufacture two flying prototypes of a light twin engined military utility aircraft is a recent typical example of the co-ordination of military and industrial needs. This project was considered in some depth by the Defence (Industrial) Committee prior to its endorsement by the Committee and subsequent approval by Cabinet. The important aspect of this project is that the aircraft is believed to have appeal in the commercial field and to overseas operators as well as defence potential. The project will assist to increase the general technical, design and manufacturing competence of the local aircraft industry. '

The current development in industry of a 1 ton general service cargo truck for the Services is another recent case where the Defence (Industrial) Committee had regard not only to meeting the military requirement, but also to the overall benefits which would flow to the Australian motor vehicle industry. The truck being developed, and which will have a very high Australian content will replace¾ton vehicles having a' fairly low Australian content. The proposed vehicle should have good prospects of commercial sales both within Australia and overseas.

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