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Purchasing policy changes should not be compensation

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"Targeting of the Commonwealth purchasing policy to assist specific industry sectors should be totally rejected", Senator Austin Lewis said in Melbourne today.

"I am concerned by a report that the Government is seeking to target preference for Australian goods to industries where the Government already has specific industry strategies in place, such as the car industry and textile, clothing and footwear industries. -

"These industries are already the most heavily protected sectors of Australian industry and targeting of the preferential purchasing policy on those industries may redirect further- investment to those industries and away from other industries which may have more genuine comparative advantage.

"Purchasing preference arrangements should be non-industry specific and apply to virtually all purchases by the Government.

"The Government should not change the system to compensate for reductions in tariffs. .

"The review of the current arrangements is timely given the urgent need to accelerate the pace of structural adjustment and to reduce the reliance of industry on both direct and indirect assistance from Governments.

"The reported difficulties of departmental officers with the current policy reflects poor administration by the Hawke Government of the current arrangements.

"The most important issue that should be examined by the review is the appropriate rate of preference that should be applied to the purchase of Australian goods.

Further information: John Robertson (062) 77 3209

15 August, 1988.


parliamentary library C. I . s.