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Tuesday, 18 May 1965

Senator HENTY - The Minister for Trade and Industry has furnished the following answers -

1.   The Government has stated that its policy is to ensure the sustained development of an economic ami efficient automotive industry in Australia, in relation to the production of complete motor vehicles with maximum Australian content. However, it has not laid down a precise figure of Australian content as the overall objective.

2.   Yes. However, it should be noted that the Commonwealth Statistician's figures relate only to components and do not include either bodies, largely made in Australia, or assembly costs. These twu factors contribute significantly to the local content of automobiles built or assembled in Australia.

3.   The Government has recently taken three measures in relation to its policy. First, on 30th October 1963, the Tariff Board was asked to inquire into the question of whether concessional tariff treatment of certain components imported for use as original equipment in motor vehicles built or assembled in Australia should 'bc discontinued and. if not, under what conditions it should bc continued. Secondly, on 1st May 1964, the Tariff Hoard was asked to enquire into what rates of duty should be imposed on complete motor vehicles imported into Australia. Thirdly, the Government announced in May 1964 that vehicle builders and assemblers who were prepared to increase me Australian content of their cars in accordance with standard programmes would be able to get tariff concessions in respect of components imported for use in those cars. The main programme, designed for cars selling in comparatively large volume, requires vehicle builders to undertake to increase local content to 95 per cent, in a period of, at most, five years. Other programmes, designed for cars selling in smaller numbers, set lower targets for Australian content.

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