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Government fails textiles industry leader.



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Government Fails Textiles Industry Leader Carmen Lawrence - Shadow Minister for Industry, Innovation and Technology

Media Statement - 1 March 2001

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Shadow Minister for Industry, Innovation and Technology, Dr Carmen Lawrence, and the Member for Gellibrand, Nicola Roxon MP, today criticised the Government over their failure to actively assist one of Australia's foremost textiles companies.

"In response to questions asked during Question Time today, both the Minister for Industry, Senator Nick Minchin and the Prime Minister refused to confirm the fact that when asked by the Bradmill Undare Group for assistance from the pool of TCF sector grants, the Government refused to provide assistance.

This is despite the Government's proven capacity to move quickly when John Howard's brother, Stan Howard, sought assistance for his own beleaguered venture.

"The Minister, Senator Minchin, today told ABC radio today that:

...That company has run into enormous difficulties, and I regret that, but what is important is that the Government does put in place ... mechanisms to provide incentives to companies that are prepared to invest in their own futures to invest in innovation. It is not about propping companies up....

(AM Program - ABC Radio 28/02/01)

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A brief examination of the Minister's "mechanisms" demonstrates how effectively they are functioning.

"Last week during Senate Estimates hearings, Department of Industry, Science and Resources officers were asked to clarify some issues about the potential impact of what appear to be eligibility anomalies in the SIPS package.

"In an extraordinary exchange with Labor Senators, Department officers confirmed that firms that were not originally intended to receive TCF SIPS funds may be eligible for grants on the basis of the loose definition of TCF industries incorporated in the scheme. This has created an environment of uncertainty and unacceptable delay for those eligible firms for whom the funds were originally intended.

"It is in this environment of uncertainty that the Bradmill Undare Group, one of Australia's foremost textiles companies, announced yesterday that it was entering receivership. This has the potential to cause the loss of up to 900 jobs.

"The Government should take the initiative and accelerate the approval of TCF grants before there is any further threat to employment in this sector, and must, as a matter of priority, seek to work with the receivers for the Bradmill Group, Arthur Anderson, to ensure the Group's continued survival.

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.