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Bolkus in price war

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Bob Charles MP

Federal Member for La Trobe




A Federal Government Department has undertaken aerial mapping on a speculative basis and offered the product to the public through a private company at less than cost,

The Australian Surveying and Land Information Group (AUSLIG) as a part of Minister Nick Bolkuss Administrative Services Department Is doing speculative work with a private enterprise company, United Photo and Graphic Services, and offering prices for aerial survey mapping as low as one third the market price.

This blatant use of excess capacity in a Government Department not required to cover costs is an outrage. Senator Bolkus has no mandate to use government resources (taxpayers' funds) to compete on a non-commercial basis In the private market place.

As we bounce along the bottom of our worse recession for sixty years and with private investment and new productive capacity falling rather than increasing, it is an outrage that taxpayers' funds are being used by a Government department with the effect of depriving an existing business of work and employment.

The Prime Minister should demand that this operation cease immediately, that Department officials responsible are disciplined and the Minister replaced. Clearly Bolkus has to go!

Qasco Pty Ltd, professional consultants in surveying, mapping and aerial photography have been in business for thirty years. Qasco undertook aerial photography of Melbourne and surrounding areas in 1986 and 1989. In September 1992 Qasco advised its clients they intended to photograph the city

and surrounding areas in late 1992 and 1993. They offered a photographic series to the Shires of Gisborne, Romsey and Ne wham- Woodend for $7,800 but the client advised that they had a similar offer from the AUSLIG-United Photo joint venture of $2,700.

Around the world today it is generally acknowledged that governments should get out of business which can be done by private enterprise. Obviously Minister Bolkus does not agree with that philosophy in setting up a new government business to compete with existing private firms and on a blatantly unfair basis. If AUSLIG has spare capacity then AUSLIG should be down-sized. There is no justification whatsoever, even In non-recession ridden times, for government to use

its resources on an unfair basis to compete with private enterprise. This abuse of government power is not only stupid but it should be criminal.

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Qasco and the Australian public deserve an immediate explanation from the Minister and from Prime Minister Keating. Bob Charles MP has instituted Freedom of Information proceedings to get to the bottom of this whole rotten business,

11 January, 1993

For further info: Bob Charles (03) 762 4066 (03) 707 1790 (AK)