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THE LIBERAL PASTY OF AUSTRALIA FEDERAL SECRETARIAT

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FROM THE HON. A. A. STREET, MR. , SHADOW MINISTER FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

There i s a grow ing n eed f o r a c o - o r d i n a t e d approach t o c o l l e c t i n g ,

s t o r i n g and d i s s e m i n a t i n g in f o r m a t io n in A u staralia.

A c c u r a t e , co m p reh en siv e and m ost i m p o r t c m t l y u p - t o - d a t e

in f o r m a t io n i s e s s e n t i a l t o b o th govern m ent and i n d u s t r y . Much ·

o f t h e in f o r m a t io n now c o l l e c t e d i s t o o slo w in g e t t i n g t o th e p e o p le

who n eed i t ; o t h e r in f o r m a t io n i s n o t c o l l e c t e d a t a l l . The

sp e ed w ith w hich human knowledge i s i n c r e a s i n g , th e " in fo r m a tio n

e x p l o s i o n " , i s c o n s t a n t l y compounding t h e problem .

A major e f f o r t s h o u ld b e mounted t o e v a l u a t e t h e adequacy o f the. ·

d a ta a lr e a d y b e i n g c o l l e c t e d i n A u s t r a l i a , i d e n t i f y th e d e f i c i e n c i e s

and make recom m endations on how th e y can b e overcom e .

R apid a c c e s s t o in f o r m a t io n o r i g i n a t i n g o v e r s e a s i s e q u a l l y .

e s s e n t i a l i f d u p l i c a t i o n o f e f f o r t i s t o be a v o id e d .

" I n v e n tin g th e wheel"· a l l o v e r a g a in i s w a s t e f u l o f human and

f i n a n c i a l r e s o u r c e s . Some c o u n t r i e s may b e a b l e to a f f o r d th e

lu x u r y o f d u p l i c a t i n g work w hich h a s a l r e a d y b een done e l s e w h e r e .

A u s t r a l i a , w it h i t s h i g h - c o s t , h i g h - t e c h n o l o g y econom y. '

a l l i e d t o a r e l a t i v e l y s m a ll p o p u l a t i o n , i s n o t one o f them.

In t h e s e c ir c u m s t a n c e s t h e r e i s an o b v io u s need f o r a c l e a r l y

. s t a t e d and c o h e r e n t l y a d m i n i s t e r e d p o l i c y on i n f o r m a t i o n .

U n f o r t u n a t e ly th e p r e s e n t Government shows no s i g n s o f such

an approach. R e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s sp r e a d h a p h a z a r d ly th r o u g h o u t

a w h ole range o f d e p a r t m e n t s , i n c l u d i n g t h e G overn m ent's

a d m i n i s t r a t i v e w a s t e - p a p e r b a s k e t , th e S p e c i a l M i n i s t e r o f S t a t e .

The s e n s i b l e t h i n g t o do w ould be t o b r i n g t o g e t h e r th e

c o l l e c t i o n , s t o r a g e and d i s s e m i n a t i o n o f in f o r m a t io n o f a

g e n e r a l n a t u r e a t th e f e d e r a l l e v e l under one D epartm ent. To

a v o id t h e danger o f d u p l i c a t i o n r e f e r r e d t o e a r l i e r , th e

a d m i n i s t e r i n g dep artm en t w ould need to be k e p t c o n s t a n t l y

in fo rm ed on t h e a v a i l a b i l i t y o f s p e c i a l i s t i n f o r m a t i o n ,

n o r m a lly h a n d led g a t h e r e d and r e q u ir e d by a p a r t i c u l a r d e p a r t m e n t ,

A u t h o r i t y o r i n d u s t r y .

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16 J a n u a r y 1 9 7 5

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