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Wednesday, 28 November 1973

Senator COTTON (New South Wales)

Leave out 'six years ', insert ' ten years '.

What the Opposition is concerned about in clause 24 is the term of 6 years. We believe that 10 years would be a better term. This refers to the power of the Commission to inquire into and report on its own initiative. This view has been put to the Opposition in substantial discussions with a wide range of interested people who are naturally concerned about the Industries Assistance Commission and its ramifications because it is a completely new device on the Australian scene and is very much in its trial period. The Opposition believes that 6 years is not long enough for an industry to establish itself, settle down and get into a position in which it is fairly able to be inquired into. The view has been put by great sections of industry to the Opposition that 6 years is not an adequate time. In questioning these people to the best of my ability I detected nothing but a completely bona fide approach. These people say that it is just not possible for an industry to be reviewed as quickly as that so as to do justice and give satisfaction to the industry investigated on the initiative of the Commission. The Opposition thinks that the term provided is unwise and not sensible. From my reading of the House of Representatives Hansard it appears that this point has been debated in the House of Representatives quite substantially and I am not anxious to go through a great debate again. Although the Government did not agree to it in the House of Representatives, the Opposition still believes that it is wise and sensible that this term be changed from 6 years to 10 years. We believe that the Government should give consideration to it. If any of my colleagues want to draw attention to it I shall be pleased to hear from them.

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