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'Son of Garnaut' report a disappointing offspring: Hill



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MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR ROBERT HILL LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Tuesday, February 25 15/92

'SON OF GARNAUT' REPORT A DISAPPOINTING OFFSPRING? HILL

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The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Robert Hill, today said the "Son of Garnaut" report on Australia and North­ East Asia was a disappointing offspring.

The DFAT report, "Australia and North-East Asia in the 1990s: Accelerating Change", was released today.

"Professor Garnaut's 1989 report was bold and said many things the Government did not necessarily want to hear - particularly in relation to the restructuring of the Australian economy to make it internationally competitive," Senator Hill said.

"But the 'Son of Garnaut' report is a disappointing offspring.

"It contains truisms, platitudes and bland statements, and is so obviously the product of a politicised bureaucracy.

"Reports about significant differences between draft versions of the report and the final report suggest it has been rewritten and sanitised to be made politically acceptable.

"An example of the report's failure to assess critically the Government's progress on key aspects of the Garnaut report can be found in its assessment of Australia's export performance in North-East Asia.

"The Garnaut report said Australia was foregoing $20 billion in exports each year through structural inefficiencies, trade barriers and its failure to exploit markets in North-East Asia.

"The DFAT report says our export performance in North-East Asia has strengthened in recent years - so much so that it 'was strong enough to maintain market share in North-East Asia'.

"Surely, Australia should have captured from within North-East Asia some of the $20 billion worth of forgone exports, but the report makes a virtue of maintaining the status quo.

"The report's complacent attitude contrasts with a recent Business Council of Australia report on Asia, which says

Australia 'is being pulled along in the slipstream of massive regional trade growth rather than making a major share gain'.

"The DFAT report has failed to make a thorough and independent assessment of the progress or otherwise of implementing the economic reform agenda set out in the Garnaut report."

Enquiriesi Mark Batistich on (06) 277 3170-C O M M O N W EA LTH

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