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Opposition welcomes government statement on purchasing

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Senator Lewis said in the Senate today the Liberal and National Parties welcome the thrust of the statement and the stated intention of placing a new emphasis on value for money in Government purchasing, reduction in regulation and simplification

of contracts detailed in the joint statement of the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce and the Minister for Administrative Services.

Indeed, the statement picks up a number of the Liberal and National Party policies, and I welcome that.

The most important point about this proposal is the removal of the 20% preference margin for Australian tenders on Commonwealth Government purchases.

The problem for Australian manufacturers is that this Government is still not addressing the basic problems of macro and micro-economic reform and until it does Australian manufacturers will face great difficulties in competing with their

international counterparts.

The absence of detail and costing, and the failure to include these proposals in the 1989-90 budget is indicative of the haste in which these proposals have been brought forward.

Clearly they have been brought forward for election purposes.

The statement proposes the establishment of yet another bureaucratic office, which does not auger well for reforms aimed at addressing excessive regulation which has for so long been a feature of the purchasing environment.

It would be most welcome if the key objectives outlined by the Minister are achieved resulting in more purchases from Australian manufacturers.

But the Government's record on Regulation Review does not inspire confidence in its ability to simplify purchasing procedures.

This Government's failure to deliver on its rhetoric does not inspire confidence in its ability to deliver on this package.

This Government is long on talk and short on action. I hope that this will not be so with this statement.

Australian Industry would welcome relief from the heavy burden of on-costs, would welcome a reduction in the heavy burden of regulations and would welcome micro and macro-economic reforms that would enable it to compete domestically and internationally

with overseas industry.

4 October, 1989