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Government needs to get it right for manufacturing exports



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MEDIA RELEASE 1 SEPTEMBER 1985

OPPOSITION SPOKESMAN ON TRADE HON. TOM MCVEIGH M.P.

GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO GET IT RIGHT FOR MANUFACTURING EXPORTS

Problems caused by an increase of 75 per cent.in food processing

imports since the early 1970's can be overcome by the Government

providing a more competitive economic base to enable increased exports.

Opposition Spokesman on Trade, Mr Tom McVeigh said ," Given the small

size of the domestic market and the stabilisation of

the migration intake, increasing exports are the only avenue for

growth and expansion of the food processing industry."

Mr McVeigh said the food processing industry , which is the largest and

-most effecient manufacturing sector in Australia, had tremendous

potential to increase exports to the Middle East and Japan.

" Although the industry has to do some more homework on its packaging,

processing and marketing, its major stumbling block still lies in the

Hawke Government's failure to break A.C.T.U domination of the vital

wages policy area.

" Escalating on-costs in labour, increasing inflation, record interest

rates and the prospect of no discounting for the effects of the

devaluation in the national wage case will strangle the manufacturing

sector's efforts to increase its international competitiveness.

" Increasing international competitiveness is about having a labour force

system geared to the capacity of industry to pay and free of the

shackles of centralised wage fixation.

"The food processing industry had a nominal assistance rate of 6 per

cent in 1981/82 compared to 16 per cent for the remainder of the

manufacturing sector. It is an industry which has proved it is a winner

in domestic terms. It is unlikely to be an export winner.

" Although the Government continues to exhort manufacturers to increase

exports, it continues to prevent them from_doing so by failing to get

the domestic economic framework right. "