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Monday, 22 October 1973
Page: 2436

Dr GUN (Kingston) - I did not intend to enter into this debate but the honourable member for Berowra (Mr Edwards) raised a couple of matters of some significance. Honourable members may recall that a couple of years ago reference was made in this chamber to matters being referred by the Tariff Board to outside bodies such as Monash University which was conducting a dynamic model study of the Australian economy and the effects that certain alterations to tariffs might have throughout the economy. Mr Chairman, you may recall that at that time the question was raised whether it was proper for these outside authorities to have access to confidential material that had been made available to the Board.

The Minister for Secondary Industry (Mr Enderby) has said - I agree with him - that it is highly desirable that all the expertise in the country be made available for the use and the help of the Industries Assistance Commission when it carries out its deliberations. I hope that when it makes decisions on matters not only will it have regard to departmental submissions and submissions from bodies such as the Bureau of Agricultural Economics but also it will be able to draw on the academic expertise and experience that is available in the various universities and other academic institutions. I hope that consideration will be given at some future time to the question whether assistance from outside should be made available specifically to the Industries Assistance Commission so that there will be no doubt about the legitimacy of certain material being made available to these outside personnel when they are drawing up submissions and gathering data to help the Commission in its deliberations.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 22.

(1)   In the performance of its functions, the Commission shall have regard to the desire of the Australian Government, in pursuing the general objectives of national economic and social policy and urban and regional development, to improve and promote the well-being of the people of Australia, with full employment, stability in the general level of prices, viability in external economic relations, conservation of the natural environment and rising and generally enjoyed standards of living, and, in particular, to the desire of the Australian Government to -

(a)   improve the efficiency with which the community's productive resources are used;

(b)   facilitate adjustment to changes in the economic environment by industries and persons affected by those changes;

(c)   recognize the interests of consumers and consuming industries likely to be affected by, measures proposed by the Commission;

(d)   ensure that any measures for assistance to and development of, industries are integrated with national economic policy as a whole;

(e)   ensure that Australia's trade and protection policies are compatible; and

(f)   provide adequate scope for public scrutiny and evaluation of the basis of the Commission's reports.

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