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Late again Mr Dawkins?

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Media Release

Ian McLachlan

Shadow M inister for Industry and Commerce



Mr Dawkins was belatedly making a trip to Japan th at should have been made by Senator Button months ago to protect the interests of Australian vehicle component manufacturers from the consequences of the USA/Japan trade battle, the Shadow Minister for Industry and Commerce, Ian McLachlan said today.

'And now he will have an uphill battle persuading the Japanese that Australia does indeed offer them a better deal than the USA despite the fact that

investment in equipment by Australian business plummeted more than 7 per cent in the December quarter to its lowest level for five years.

Mr McLachlan said th at whilst Mr Dawkins and the Prime Minister might crow about 'internationalising the Australian economy* the reality was that their policies had led to destruction not restructuring of industry.

'Indeed going by today's national investment figures, the Government has succeeded in making the investment climate a lot worse, a fact which doesn't auger well for growth and jobs.'

'Mr Keating's high interest rate recession has killed off investment and undermined industry’s export capacity and export prospects.'

*We have waited nine years for changes to the industrial relations system which would allow employers and their employees to make productive and mutually beneficial working arrangements; we have waited nine years for cheaper shipping, waterfront and rail services; nine years for a third runway at Sydney

airport and nine years for a new pulp mill in Tasmania; and a very long nine years for removal of business input taxes.

'Indeed we've waited nine years for taxation, industrial relations and structural changes which it is estimated could generate additional income of more than $50 billion a year.

'These are the changes that must be made right now to convince overseas investors of our bona fides, to convince them th at Australia is a good place to do business.

*We have to demonstrate that we are serious about industry revitalisation - not leave everything until it is too late,' concluded Mr McLachlan.

17 March 1992 Contact: 08 237 7140