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Partial transcript of news conference, IBM Plant, Wangaratta



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P R IM E M IN IS T E R

PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT OF NEWS CONFERENCE, IBM PLANT, WANGARATTA - 27 SEPTEMBER 1991

E & OE - PROOF ONLY

JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, good news about Iraq?

PM: Yes, it looks as though the Security Council has accepted the proposal that's come through. It'll involve, I understand, involve a cataloguing of the documents and they seem to think that that's acceptable. So it looks as though

the combined persistence of the Security Council and its members has brought about the result that was necessary.

JOURNALIST: What's the relief for fears that an escalation of conflict once again?

PM: Yes. Well no-one wanted to see an escalation of conflict although if the Iraqis had been intransigent and had refused to cooperate then that would have been necessary

but no-one wanted to see it.

JOURNALIST: The hand over of the inventory, if they do it, isn't this a bit of a cop out?

PM: Well I am not sure at this stage of all those details. I'm sure that the Security Council and including the United States would not have accepted the proposal if it had been a cop out. The important thing is that all the information be available and I don't believe anything will have been

accepted by the United Nations or the United States which doesn't involve a retention of all the relevant information.

JOURNALIST: So what are they going to - do you know what they are going to - are willing to hand over?

PM: Well as I would understand everything would need to b< handed over. All that they are talking about now is an actual cataloguing so that there can be a listing for the Iraqis of what has been taken.

JOURNALIST: How long before we get the UN - the UN people will be allowed home?

PM: That should happen quite quickly I understand.

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JOURNALIST: In Wangaratta also a hundred people have lost their jobs in the last 12 months in the textile industry as a result of the reduction in tariff protection. What are you doing for these people?

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PM: A very substantial amount and we've just recently increased the provision that we made earlier in the year. We're putting literally tens of millions of dollars into programs for retraining, relocation and other training programs on the basis that we believe that if a reduction in tariffs is justified on the basis of the welfare of the community as a whole, and we believe that's right, then the community as a whole has got to be prepared, through the

taxation system, to provide very substantial assistance to such people. Now we did that at the time of the tariff reductions but then just a couple of weeks ago we made the decision that we'd increase and prolong provisions of those amounts of money. They will run into literally over the rest of this decade into hundreds of millions of dollars

which is giving practical effect to the belief I have, that is if the community is to benefit as it will from tariff reductions then the community must assist those at the coal face of change.

JOURNALIST: There'll be retraining but in places like regional centres like Wangaratta there aren't a lot of other opportunities for jobs. Will the Government try and create new employment in Wangaratta?

PM: Well we'll try in cooperation with state governments to do what can be done to create further employment opportunities but you can't operate in any country on the basis that every job in every place is going to be there

forever. I mean, we'd be back in the caves if we followed that belief.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, the economy as a whole, sir, are we likely to bump along the bottom like this for some time? Is this what we can expect?

PM: We're not bumping along the bottom now. There is a significant range of indicators which show that we have started to come out of the recession and I believe that that's going to continue.

JOURNALIST: IBM, do you see it as a springboard for future technical developments ...?

PM: IBM is an indication of what I've been saying. That is that we've got the skills in this country, we've got the management which can take on and beat the best in the world. It ought to be a matter of pride for all Australians to

realise what's involved in this plant. As we've been told this plant can provide its products at a more competitive price than any other IBM plant in the world which is a great tribute to the skill and commitment of the workforce and of

the management. That's just the substance of what the statistics show that we are very substantially increasing our exports of manufactured goods. We've got the capacity to do it, we'll keep on doing it. Okay. Thanks.

ends