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Committee finds that CD monopoly costs consumers



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c SENATOR ERIC ABETZ Liberal Senator for Tasmania

COMMITTEE FINDS THAT CD MONOPOLY COSTS CONSUMERS

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee today supported tne Government’s proposed legislation to end an import monopoly on CDs currently enjoyed by a small group of foreign multinational record companies.

Tabling the Committee’s report, Committee Chairman Senator Eric Abetz said the Committee had found that the Government’s proposal to allow parallel importation of sound recordings would result in cheaper CDs and greater availability of titles.

"The Committee’s inquiry found that the Government’s legislation is widely supported by significant consumer organisations, including the Australian Consumers’ Association and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), as well as some of Australia’s largest retail stores," Senator Abetz said.

"The inquiry found that Australian consumers have been subjected to anti-competitive practices for far too long. These practices have kept Australian CD prices artificially high, as illustrated by evidence from Woolworths and other retailers that prices could fall immediately under the Government’s proposal."

Senator Abetz said he was disgusted with the position of the Australian Democrats on this issue.

"After failing to turn up to even one Committee meeting, Senator Stott Despoja, the self-proclaimed representative for youth in the Parliament, sold out the youth of Australia by deciding to side with the foreign multinational record companies,"

Senator Abetz said.

"Senator Stott Despoja put opportunism and cheap political point scoring ahead of young consumers."

Senator Abetz said the Labor Party’s opposition to the Legislation showed it had chained itself to the multinationals in the hope of a grubby political pay back at the next election.

"Labor should remember, however, that it was exactly these same companies which ratted on a $270 million deal with the former Labor Government.

"Unlike the Democrats and Labor, the Government has put consumers, particularly young music lovers, before the interests of the multinationals," Senator Abetz said.

Ends 01.04.1998 Contact: Senator Eric Abetz (02) 6277 3710 or 0418 136 208