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Uncertainty harming industry development



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MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR AUSTIN LEWIS

£&) .71 SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDUSTRY, TECHNOLOGY AND COMMERCE

THE SENATE .

UNCERTAINTY HARMING INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT

Senator Austin Lewis, Shadow Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce, today drew attention to the damage being done to Australian industry by the speculation of impending tariff cuts generated by the comments

over the past three months of senior Government Ministers including the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, Senator Button and Minister Dawkins.

"The speculation started before Christmas and has resulted in firms delaying investment plans, consumers deferring purchases and importers speculating on imports.

"These factors are harming many businesses and delaying the restructuring of many sectors which is essential for ’industry development in Australia.

"Many people won't buy imported goods if they think prices will drop and it even affects sales of substitutes because people delay buying in the hope of lower prices.

"Even worse necessary industry investments in capital equipment are being delayed while management waits on this Government to make up its mind what it is going to d o .

"The Government has fueled the speculation and deferred a statement on this important matter for crass political reasons to do with the recent New South Wales State election and the various Federal by-elections.

"Given the results of those elections, the Government and Minister Button in particular must regret the Government's long delays in announcing decisions and implementing vital micro-economic reforms.

"However, the Government appears intent on maintaining the uncertainty and continuing the harmful effects on industry until the Economic Statement in late May.

"Australia cannot afford to have industry investment prospects further damaged and the Government should come clean immediately on its intentions regarding cuts to tariffs and other forms of barrier protection.

"Industry should not have to wait another two months out what is going on", Senator Lewis said,. to find

30 March 1988.

Further information: John Robertson (062) 72 7088.