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Thursday, 17 February 1977

Mr LIONEL BOWEN (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) -I direct my question to the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs. I refer to his statement in the House on 7 December last, advising that the Government had accepted the Industries Assistance Commission tariff recommendations in respect of multilateral trade. Can the Minister explain why in respect of travel goods, which were the subject of the recommendation of the IAC, the Government has taken no action to reduce the tariff as indicated to this House? Has the Minister made any public explanation for this apparent mistake or what is the reason for the Government not taking such action? Is he aware that many people in business, particularly in importing travel goods, relied on the ministerial statement made, acted accordingly, reduced their prices for forward selling and have suffered substantial damage because of the Government's action? Accordingly, is the Minister prepared to allow these goods in at the lower rate of duty forecast in the IAC report or alternatively will he offer compensation to the companies affected?

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