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Cement industry report demands action



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Cement Industry Report Demands Action

"Senator Button should promptly act upon the; report on the cement industry prepared by the Bureau of Industry Economics," according to the Shadow Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce, Senator Austin Lewis.

"The report is scathing in its criticisms of the industry and there is little doubt that there is major room for improvement. Outmoded technology, lack of multiskilling and overstaffing problems should all be addressed by cement producers and unions alike.

"But equally important is the necessary contribution to be made by Government.

"High transportation costs and the disaster of the Australian waterfront are creating an anchor against prosperity in the cement industry. The BIE noted that it is cheaper to ship clinker from Japan to any Australian port

than between almost any two markets on the Australian coast.

"Until the problems on Australia's wharves are adequately addressed there is little chance for the cement industry and industries like it to thrive," Senator Lewis said.

He also addressed the issue of alleged clinker and cement dumping from Asia. .

"Fair overseas competition in this industry as in others provides the impetus for technological change and productivity growth. The anti-dumping mechanism should be used as a shield against unfair trading practices and not a

sword against healthy competition.

"The Government has a duty to provide the necessary economic environment for cement producers to restructure and should attack work practices on the waterfront and deregulate our transport industry.

"The tripartite committee studying the effects of overseas competition on the cement industry should be identifying Government imposed burdens on cement producers so that prompt action can be taken to ensure the industry's

survival." -

8 August 1988.

Further information: Gerard Wheeler 77 3215.