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Industry commission inquiry must clear the air on second-hand car imports



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Ian McLachlan 37.

Media Release Shadow Minister for Industry and Commerce

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INDUSTRY COMMISSION INQUIRY MUST CLEAR THE AIR ON SECOND-HAND CAR IMPORTS

The Government must establish an Industry Commission inquiry immediately to investigate all aspects of the second-hand car import issue, the Shadow Minister for Industry and Commerce, Ian McLachlan, said today.

'An inquiry should have been instigated by the Government six months ago instead of imposing a prohibitive $12,000 per vehicle tariff, additional to the existing 35 per cent tariff, without any investigation whatsoever by the Department of Industry, Technology and Commerce, or any other body.

O ur position is supported by the Australian Automobile Association which has ' pointed out that the decision was taken without consulting all interested parties, including consumers.

'Indeed, under the Industry Commission Act the Government is constrained to make changes to industry assistance only after a full public Commission inquiry. .

'Apparently Senator Button has seen fit in this particular case to ignore the law.'

Mr McLachlan said that no justification for the tariff had been forthcoming from the Government.

'Indeed in recent Senate Estimates Committee hearings officers from the Department of Industry, Technology and Commerce grudgingly conceded that no assessment of the costs and benefits of the tariff had been carried out because of a lack of information.

Yet on the basis of that same scant information, a prohibitive tariff was proposed.'

Mr McLachlan said that Australians deserved better.

'An Industry Commission inquiry is essential which, inter alia:

assesses whether car registration arrangements in Japan accelerate depreciation of older vehicles thus depressing their re-sale value and the extent of any subsidy involved to Japanese car producers

the potential impact of second-hand imports on the automotive industry in Australia

the potential impact on car prices, car safety and car emissions

. the impact on Australian consumers

. whether imported used cars under current arrangements met all design, safety and consumer requirements imposed on local producers and dealers.

'The Coalition considers until answers to these questions are known, there is no reasonable basis to support the proposed tariff.

'An inquiry would clear the air and allow all interested parties to put their views to an independent Commission.'

Mr McLachlan said that if the Government did not agree to establish an inquiry and withdraw the tariff pending its recommendations the Coalition would oppose the tariff.

Further information:

Ian McLachlan Shadow Minister for Industry and Commerce Telephone: 06 277 2039 26 May 1992