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Emergency package of support for the heavy engineering industry



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DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE ^S gS S^ INCLUDING THE AUSTRALIAN CUSTOMS SERVICE

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EMERGENCY- PACKAGE-Q F - SUPPORT-FOR-THE - HEAVY- ENGINEERING - INDUSTRY

The request by the Machinery and Metal Engineering Council

for $500 million emergency funds for 1984/85 to finance projects

with a large heavy engineering content had been considered by

the Government during its 1984/85 Budget deliberations, the

Minister for Industry and Commerce, Senator John Button said

today.

The Government decided that in view of the importance of

reducing the Budget deficit as a means of holding down interest

rates and providing the right macroeconomic climate for private

investment, scope did not exist to implement the proposed projects

in the 1984/85 Budget.

The Minister pointed out that the one year extension to the

investment allowance should be of significant benefit to the

heavy engineering sector.

The Machinery and Metal Engineering Council had submitted an

emergency package of support for the heavy engineering industry

to the Government on 30 July 1984. As well as the request for

the emergency funds the package also listed a number of other

measures.

The Minister said he had convened a special meeting of the

Australian Industry and Technology Council to discuss a number

of the matters raised in . the package. He anticipated that following

the meeting a chronological listing of public sector projects in

all States and Territories for which work would be ongoing or

contracts awarded during 1984/85 would be prepared. This would

provide a much better picture for industry and Governments of

what was planned for the next twelve months.

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Other matters which were intended to be discussed at the

meeting included State preferences, a National Industry

Supplies Office, Government taxes and charges, the development

of an Australian machine tool specification, and the current

and future structure of the heavy engineering, shipbuilding

and ship repair industries.

The establishment of a National Manufacturing Advisory

Service on Computer Assisted Manufacturing (MASCAM) was also

listed for discussion.

Senator Button noted that .a number of the matters mentioned

in the package had already been raised with the relevant

Ministers or would be raised with them in the near future.

The proposals referring to import competition would be taken

into account by the Government in its consideration of the IAC

reports on short term and long term assistance for the industry.

Because of the wide-ranging coverage of the submission

from the Council, the Minister said he would be seeking to

meet with it to discuss the various proposals after the

Australian Industry and Technology Council meeting.

CANBERRA ACT CONTACT: Peter Richards

(W) 72 3070