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Productivity Minister calls for new approach by industry, unions and governments

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= Thursday 23· Ma rcr-



.Statement by the Minister for Productivity, The Hon Ian Maephee · .

Addressing leaders of W.A, industry a n d commerce in Per^ yesfce^day", L; the Federal Minister for Productivity, M r Ian Macphce, called for a new approach by munagemo"" unions and Federal and State Governments to achieve productivity improvements and lift employment and living

standards. .

"The challenge facing Australia is to tako long-term ana . positive thinking into every board r o o m , every union office, as well as into every Government - Federal and State - if we arc to return to high employment and.

jobs which satisfy people and motivate them to achieve productivity improvements which will benefit the living standards of everyone," Mr Maephee said.

"We m u s t look to redevelop our existing industries and create new industries by a combination of imagination a n d hard work. -

"The imagination will involve the adoption of n e w ideas and technology, systems of work "and methods of communication between employees, industry and Governmen

"Governments have a big role to play in assisting industry^ to gain access to new ideas for technological innovation. Industry has an obligation to help itself by harnessing and improving upon existing technology."

The Minister was speaking during consultations with about 50 industry representatives from the Confederation of Western Australian Industry and the Perth Chamber of Commerce, during his three-day visit to Perth this week

D u ring the talks with industry, Mr Maephee h e a r d views and discussed current trends affecting the W.A. economy Industry representatives confirmed their continuing support for the general economic policies of the Fed a--. Government, but submitted views on specific industry

issues affecting Western· Australia, including undor- capacity production, the requirement to improve technology, the importance of advance planning by Government and industry and problems in funding works p r o g r a m s . '

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Confederation officials also emphasised to the Mini.3t.6X the importance of maximum participation by W.A. industry and commerce in the planned $3 billion North West Shelf .

development, now in the feasibility stage. ·

'they pointed out that/ as the largest development in Australia's h i s t o r y , the importance of the planned North j

West. Shelf project should be better understood by all !

A u s t r a l i a n s .

They saw the planned natural gas development, as a |

catalyst to economic growth, not only in Western !

Australia but for industries in many other parts of j

Australia. Confederation representatives reported on the I success of the recent W.A. industry mission to Singapore to tell overseas industry of the opportunities presented ;

by the planned North West Shelf natural gas project. ;

They said a study of W.A. industry prospects for the i

planned North West Shelf development showed that Western i

Australian contenders for North West Shebf work could be- j

competitive in their particular fields, given support from i the community and from Federal and State Governments. ;

However the creation of the new industries, new jobs, and ;

n e w technology involved would require positive elements of. cooperation and assistance. Good labour relations and j

cooperation with Governments would be vital to success. - j

M r Macphce informed the industry representatives that h e j

w o u l d be reporting to the Government soon on a major j

review of industrial research and development incentives which had been undertaken in accordance with the Government's undertakings during the last election'. .

Jle said the review had confirmed that the Gove r n m e n t 1 a concern at the declining level of .industrial research and development in recent years was well justified. A need had beep identified to take maximum advantage of the current

economic upturn through a strengthening of support for . Australia's technological capability.

The Minister also referred to the Government’s policy intentions foreshadowed in the Governor-General1s speech to Federal Parliament on 20th February in relation to >

export incentives and the establishment of

Projects Corporation to give Australian industry a better opportunity to take part in large overseas projects. |

M r Maephee outlined forthcoming reforms to Australia's j

system of patents, trade marks and desiejns which will j

ensure that the patents system will provide Australian /

industry with earlier and more effective assistance .in i

innovation and technology improvement. - :


The Minister re p o r t e d . on productivity project's underway v.\itbin his own Department affecting specific industries, in particular the recent announcement of the establishment of an Information Technology Council. The new Council .is

designed to assist businessmen with advice about the availability and interaction of new information technologies to assist in improving productivity in the area of management administration overhead costs - one of the fastest rising cost components in Australian

industry and commerce today.


· . _ THURSDAY 23 MARCH 1978

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