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"The first 2 years of the Department of Productivity"



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MINISTERIAL STATEMENT DY IAN MACPHEE, M.P., MINISTER FOR PRODUCTIVITY, ON "THE FIRST 2 YEARS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVITY", NOVEMBER 21, 1978.

IN RECENT MONTHS THERE HAVE BEEN A NUMBER OF INITIATIVES BY THE GOVERNMENT, STEMMING FROM WORK UNDERTAKEN BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVITY, IN WHICH MANY HONOURABLE MEMBERS HAVE EXPRESSED CONSIDERABLE INTEREST. THESE ANNOUNCEMENTS HAVE INCLUDED; THE GOVERNMENT'S DECISION TO PROCEED WITH

THE COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT OF INTERSCAN; THE BIG INCREASE IN GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ANNOUNCED IN THE 1978/79 BUDGET; AND THE COMMONWEALTH'S NEW POLICY ON EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATION.

AS NOVEMBER 1978 MARKS THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVITY, I BELIEVE IT IS APPROPRIATE THAT SOME OF THE DEPARTMENT'S . BETTER KNOWN INITIATIVES SHOULD BE PLACED INTO AN OVERALL FRAMEWORK,

HENCE THIS BRIEF REVIEW OF ITS MOST SIGNIFICANT ACTIVITIES.

WHEN ANNOUNCING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVITY IN NOVEMBER 1976 THE PRIME MINISTER SAID:

"THIS INITIATIVE HAS BEEN TAKEN IN RECOGNITION OF THE NEED TO PROVIDE A " TECHNOLOGICALLY ORIENTATED AGENCY WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PROVIDING INCREASED INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTIVITY" . .

WHEN THE GOVERNMENT'S DECISION WAS TAKEN, ALL SECTORS. OF THE AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY WERE FACING, AS THEY STILL FACE, PRESSURES FROM A VARIETY OF INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENTS.

THERE WAS A RECOGNITION THAT A LONGER TERM PERSPECTIVE WAS NEEDED TO MEET SUCH CHALLENGES■ WITH TOO YEARS BEHIND US THERE IS A GENERAL UNDERSTANDING BY THOSE WHO ARE WORKING WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVITY THAT IT HAS DONE A GREAT DEAL TO HELP PEOPLE IN MANAGEMENT, UNIONS AND

GOVERNMENTS TO THINK MORE DEEPLY ABOUT THE NATURE OF CHANGE AND THEIR LONGER-TERM RESPONSES TO IT. I BELIEVE THE CREATION OF THESE LONGER TERM PERSPECTIVES IN THE MINDS OF SUCH PEOPLE IS ALSO IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF THEIR SHORT-TERM DECISIONS. .

THE DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVITY IS NOT, AS SOME PEOPLE MIGHT IMAGINE, MR SPEAKER, A GROUP OF WHITE COATED EFFICIENCY EXPERTS WITH STOP WATCHES. THIS GOVERNMENT'S CONCEPT OF IMPROVING AUSTRALIA'S PRODUCTIVITY PERFORMANCE IS FAR WIDER THAN THAT, AS I WILL SHOW.

IT IS TRUE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVITY DOES ENCOURAGE FIRMS, OR " ENTERPRISES, TO EXAMINE EVERY ASPECT OF THEIR COST STRUCTURE IN THE MOST THOROUGH AND CHALLENGING WAY POSSIBLE. IT DOES THIS IN A VARIETY OF WAYS LIKE THE INDUSTRY PROGRAM GROUPS (IPGs), THE INTERFIRM COMPARISON

PROGRAM, PLUS THE RANGE OF ACTIVITIES SUPPORTED BY THE PRODUCTIVITY PROMOTION COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA. I HAVE SAID ON MANY OCCASIONS THAT NO STONE SHOULD BE LEFT UNTURNED BY MANAGEMENT IN ITS ENDEAVOURS TO IMPROVE THE COST STRUCTURE AND HENCE THE PRODUCTIVITY OF ITS ENTERPRISE.

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'SHOULD REDUCE THE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE EMPLOYED, BUT RATHER TO ENSURE THE CONTINUED SURVIVAL AND INDEED THE EXPANSION OF ENTERPRISES AS THEY .BECOME MORE COMPETITIVE .WITH COUNTERPARTS OVERSEAS. IN OUR MODERN, OPEN ECONOMY, FAILURE TO IMPROVE OUR PRODUCTIVITY. WILL LEAD INEVITABLY

TO A LOSS OF COMPETITIVENESS AND ULTIMATELY JOBS. THAT, IN THE END, IS WHY PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT IS SO IMPORTANT.

WHILE WE ARE CONCERNED WITH ENCOURAGING INDIVIDUAL. FIRMS TO LOOK CLOSELY AT THEIR COST STRUCTURES, THE RANGE OF ACTIVITY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVITY IS MUCH WIDER AND MORE COMPREHENSIVE THAN THAT. IT INCLUDES:

. THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF NEW TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE THE PRODUCTIVITY . PERFORMANCE OF EXISTING INDUSTRIES AND TO CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT■OF NEW INDUSTRIES; ' '

. THE NEED TO RELATE NEW TECHNOLOGY TO PEOPLE AT THE WORKPLACE; .

. THE NEED FOR EXCELLENCE IN AUSTRALIAN DESIGN TO ENABLE INDUSTRIES TO BETTER COMPETE, NOT ONLY IN THE DOMESTIC MARKET BUT ALSO IN THE Γ WORLD MARKETPLACE; - 'v·

. THE NEED TO LOOK SERIOUSLY AT OUR EXISTING PATTERNS OF WORK, TO EXPLORE THE OPTIONS OFFERED FOR PART-TIME EMPLOYMENT, FLEXIBLE WORKING HOURS AND THE LIKE;

. THE NEED TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF AUSTRALIA'S GOODS AND SERVICES - AN IMPORTANT PROBLEM WHEN IT IS REALISED THAT SUB-STANDARD GOODS AND SERVICES COULD WELL BE COSTING AUSTRALIA MORE THAN ONE PERCENT OF GDP (SOMEWHERE BETWEEN $700 MILLION AND $1000 MILLION PER ANNUM) .ACCORDING TO THE AUSTRALIAN ORGANISATION FOR QUALITY CONTROL;

. THE NEED TO IMPROVE OUR PHYSICAL DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS, THAT IS, EVERY ASPECT OF THE PACKAGING, STORAGE, HANDLING AND MOVEMENT OF ' GOODS. UP TO 40 PERCENT OF THE COST OF ORDINARY CONSUMER ITEMS . IS ACCOUNTED FOR BY THESE FACTORS;

. THE NEED TO IMPROVE OUR INDUSTRIAL SAFETY AND HEALTH RECORD, ^ PARTICULARLY WHEN IT IS REALISED THAT INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENTS COULD V WELL BE COSTING AUSTRALIA IN THE REGION OF $2 BILLION EACH YEAR;

. THE NEED TO IMPROVE THE PHYSICAL WORKING ENVIRONMENT OF AUSTRALIANS, NOT SIMPLY FOR SAFETY OR OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH REASONS, BUT TO PROVIDE THE MORE SATISFYING AND CHALLENGING JOBS THAT A YOUNGER, BETTER EDUCATED WORKFORCE IS DEMANDING.

. THE NEED FOR A GREATER INVOLVEMENT OF EMPLOYEES· IN DECISIONS AFFECTING THEIR WORK THROUGH BETTER COMMUNICATION AND IMPROVED CONSULTATION AND THROUGH NEW SYSTEMS OF WORK INVOLVING CONCEPTS . SUCH AS SEMI-AUTONOMOUS WORK GROUPS.

. AND FINALLY AND MOST IMPORTANTLY - THE NEED TO STIMULATE INDUSTRY, BOTH MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES, TO INTEGRATE EACH OF THESE ELEMENTS OF PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT TO EACH OTHER INSTEAD OF TREATING THEM IN INDIVIDUAL COMPARTMENTS AS MATTERS TO BE LOOKED AT AND DEALT

WITH IN ISOLATION. '

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REFLECTING THE GOVERNMENT'S CONCERN - THAT ALL THESE MATTERS BE SEEN CLEARLY TO BE INTER-CONNECTED IN THE IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION THEY MAKE TO IMPROVING NATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY - THE DEPARTMENT WAS LARGELY FORMED

FROM ELEMENTS WHICH CAME FROM A NUMBER OF OTHER DEPARTMENTS - THE TECHNOLOGY FUNCTION FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE, THE NATIONAL MATERIALS HANDLING BUREAU FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT, THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT DIVISION FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT AND

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AND THE PATENT, TRADE MARKS AND DESIGNS OFFICE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS.

THE RESULT IS A DEPARTMENT WHICH COMPLEMENTS - RATHER THAN COMPETES WITH - OTHER ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRY DEPARTMENTS IN THE COMMONWEALTH PUBLIC SERVICE. SIMILARLY, PRODUCTIVITY PROGRAMS COMPLEMENT AND, I BELIEVE, RENDER MORE EFFECTIVE, THE MANY OTHER ACTIVITIES OF THIS GOVERNMENT IN

SUPPORT OF INDUSTRY WHETHER THEY BE EXPORT INCENTIVES, THE INVESTMENT ALLOWANCE, OR THE MANY OTHER PROGRAMS OF SUPPORT.

I WILL OUTLINE SOME OF THESE SPECIFIC PRODUCTIVITY PROGRAMS. I WANT FIRST, HOWEVER, TO DRAW THE ATTENTION OF HONOURABLE MEMBERS TO A NUMBER OF CHARACTERISTICS WHICH DISTINGUISH THE DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVITY AND WHICH EMPHASISE ITS IMPORTANCE.

FIRSTLY, I WANT TO EMPHASISE THAT THE MINISTRY IS CONCERNED PRINCIPALLY WITH MEDIUM TO LONGER-TERM ISSUES - MATTERS WHICH DO NOT TEND TO MAKE HEADLINES. THE TASK OF SUBSTANTIALLY UPGRADING AUSTRALIA'S TECHNOLOGICAL CAPABILITY WILL NOT OCCUR OVERNIGHT. NEITHER WILL THE ATTITUDES OF

AUSTRALIANS TO ALTERNATIVE WORK PATTERNS ALTER MAGICALLY BECAUSE OF A POLICY PRONOUNCEMENT FROM CANBERRA. NOR WILL MUCH NEEDED UNIFORM LEGISLATION BETWEEN STATE AND COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENTS BE ACHIEVED WITHOUT THE COOPERATION OF ALL GOVERNMENTS AND AFFECTED INDUSTRY

SECTORS. THE FACT THAT SUCH ISSUES ARE NOT GENERALLY SEEN TO BE URGENT QUESTIONS DOES NOT MAKE THEM ANY LESS IMPORTANT.

THEY ARE THE KINDS OF ISSUES ON WHICH WE ARE WORKING PATIENTLY AND PERSISTENTLY. WHILE THOSE IN INDUSTRY AND THE UNIONS WHO ARE WORKING WITH US APPRECIATE VERY CLEARLY WHAT WE ARE DOING THERE IS A NEED FOR MUCH WIDER UNDERSTANDING IN THE COMMUNITY OF THESE LONG-TERM ISSUES. CONSEQUENTLY, WE ARE NOW PLANNING A SERIES OF MAJOR PUBLICITY PROGRAMS

TO AUGMENT THE MANY INDUSTRY SEMINARS WHICH WE HAVE HELPED TO SPONSOR.

SECONDLY, THE DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN CONSCIOUS OF THE NEED TO ACTIVELY INVOLVE ALL THOSE PEOPLE AND GROUPS WHO HAVE AN INTEREST IN IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY. IN MANY OF OUR PROGRAMS, THEREFORE, WE HAVE APPROACHED PROBLEM SOLVING ON A TRIPARTITE BASIS - INVOLVING GOVERNMENT, MANAGEMENT AND THE UNIONS. IN THIS RESPECT THE DEPARTMENT HAS ADOPTED A CATALYTIC ROLE, HELPING PEOPLE TO HELP THEMSELVES.

CENTRAL TO THIS "WORKING TOGETHER" OR "HANDS ON" APPROACH HAS BEEN THE BELIEF THAT PEOPLE WHO KNOW MOST ABOUT AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY AND WHO HAVE MOST TO BENEFIT FROM ITS IMPROVEMENT ARE THOSE WORKING IN IT. WHEN . PROBLEMS ARE IDENTIFIED IN THIS WAY MANAGEMENT WILL CONSIDER AFRESH

MATTERS SUCH AS NEW MARKETS AND PRODUCTS, NEW METHODS OF DISTRIBUTION AND PRODUCTION AND, PERHAPS MOST IMPORTANTLY, NEW WAYS OF HARNESSING THE TALENTS OF THE PEOPLE WORKING IN THEIR ENTERPRISES.

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EQUALLY, UNION OFFICIALS WHO ARE INFORMED OF THE REAL POSITION OF AN 'INDUSTRY AND THE "ISSUES TT FACES HAVE REACTED"POSITIVELY IN ORDER TO SEEK SOLUTIONS TO WHAT, IN REALITY, ARE MUTUAL PROBLEMS. OUR FAITH IN THIS INNOVATIVE APPROACH HAS BEEN VINDICATED BY EXPERIENCE: .UNIONS AND MANAGEMENT ARE SEEKING TO EXPLORE MATTERS OF MUTUAL SELF-INTEREST.

IT IS, WE HOPE, PROVIDING AN EXAMPLE TO A WIDER AUDIENCE.

THIRDLY, THE DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVITY HAS ADOPTED NEW AND INNOVATIVE WAYS OF DOING THINGS. THE TRIPARTITE APPROACH IN MANY OF ITS PROGRAMS IS A CASE IN POINT. ANOTHER HAS BEEN THE FORMATION OF A COMPANY UNDER ' THE SPONSORSHIP OF THE AIDC TO CARRY THROUGH THE COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT

OF INTERSCAN. THIS METHOD IS A SIGNIFICANT EXPERIMENT IN GOVERNMENT/ INDUSTRY COOPERATION. IT RECOGNISED THE REALITY THAT NO SINGLE AUSTRALIAN COMPANY OR CONSORTIUM COULD HAVE TAKEN THIS DEVELOPMENT FURTHER AS A COMMERCIAL PROPOSITION AT THIS STAGE. ' ,

THE NEW EMPHASIS ON FUNDING'FOR "PUBLIC INTEREST" PROJECTS UNDER THE INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT INCENTIVES ACT IS FURTHER EVIDENCE OF THE NEW APPROACHES. PROJECTS UNDER CONSIDERATION IN THIS FIELD WILL DEMONSTRATE THAT INTERSCAN IS NO ISOLATED INSTANCE OF OUR DETERMINATION TO

CARRY AUSTRALIAN INVENTIVENESS AND INNOVATION THROUGH TO COMMERCIAL V VIABILITY ON WORLD MARKETS.

THESE CHARACTERISTICS DEMONSTRATE THE ACTION-ORIENTATED NATURE OF THE DEPARTMENT'S PROGRAMS AND THE WAY IN WHICH WE ARE WILLING TO SIT D O W . WITH INDUSTRY AND LOOK TO NEW WAYS OF SOLVING PROBLEMS. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE, MR SPEAKER, FOR ME HERE TODAY TO OUTLINE ALL THE DEPARTMENT’S

CURRENT PROGRAMS. HOWEVER SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

I HAVE ALREADY MAKE MENTION OF THE BIG INCREASE IN FUNDS AVAILABLE IN THIS YEAR'S BUDGET FOR INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT - A LIFT OF 75 PERCENT TO $24 MILLION. WE HAVE ALSO SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVED THE SCHEME BY INCREASING THE LEVEL OF GRANTS TO INDIVIDUAL COMPANIES AND PROVIDING FOR

PROGRESSIVE PAYMENTS OF GRANTS. WE ARE ALSO ACTIVELY PURSUING SECTION 39 OF THE ACT WHICH RELATES TO "PUBLIC INTEREST" PROJECTS. THESE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT INCENTIVES SCHEMES IS JUST ONE OF THE WAYS IN WHICH THE GOVERNMENT, THROUGH MY DEPARTMENT,

IS AIMING TO STIMULATE THE DESIGN AND INTRODUCTION OF NEW TECHNOLOGY BY AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRIES.

THERE ARE A NUMBER OF WAYS IN WHICH MY DEPARTMENT IS ATTEMPTING TO IMPROVE THE DISSEMINATION OF TECHNOLOGICAL INFORMATION. THE PATENT OFFICE NOW PROVIDES A TECHNOLOGY INFORMATION SERVICE FOR AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS FROM WORLD PATENT LITERATURE. AND RECENTLY AN AGREEMENT WAS CONCLUDED WITH

THE INTERNATIONAL PATENT DOCUMENTATION CENTRE AT VIENNA WHICH WILL HAVE THE EFFECT OF UPGRADING SERVICES AVAILABLE FROM THIS UNIT.

MOREOEVER WE HAVE RECENTLY BEGUN OVERHAULING THE LEGISLATION DEALING WITH INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY. AMENDMENTS TO THE PATENTS LEGISLATION HAVE BEEN INTRODUCED THIS SESSION AIMED AT PROVIDING FOR PATENT SPECIFICATIONS TO BE OPEN FOR PUBLIC INSPECTION AT LEAST A YEAR EARLIER THAN IS PRESENTLY THE CASE. THE TRADE MARKS ACT HAS ALSO BEEN AMENDED TO COVER SERVICES AS WELL AS GOODS. LEGISLATION WILL BE INTRODUCED NEXT SESSION TO ESTABLISH A SYSTEM OF PETTY PATENTS AIMED TO CATER PRIMARILY FOR INNOVATION DEVELOPED BY SMALL BUSINESS OR SHORT-TERM FASHIONS. .

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IN THE PAST THE LAWS REGARDING INVENTIONS, TRADE MARKS AND DESIGNS HAVE BEEN FORMED AND ADMINISTERED ON THE NARROW GROUNDS OF THE GRANTING OF PROPRIETARY RIGHTS. IT IS CLEAR HOWEVER THAT THESE LAWS ARE THE MECHANISMS FOR ENCOURAGING INNOVATION AND PRODUCTIVITY. APART FROM THE

LEGISLATION WE HAVE INTRODUCED I HAVE ALSO ESTABLISHED AN INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO ADVISE ME, ON A CONTINUING BASIS, ON THE NEED FOR CHANGES IN INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY LAW.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS ARE.OF LITTLE VALUE IF THEY ARE NOT USED. TO EXPLOIT OUR OWN INNOVATIONS AND TO ENSURE THAT THE LATEST OVERSEAS TECHNOLOGY IS AVAILABLE TO AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY, A TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER NETWORK HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED. IN THIS REGARD A PILOT PROGRAM IS UNDERWAY - AIMED PRIMARILY

AT THE METAL MANUFACTURING SECTOR - WHICH HAS THE OBJECT OF FACILITATING THE TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER OF INFORMATION FROM ACADEMIC, GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS TO PRIVATE INDUSTRY TO ASSIST IN THE EFFECTIVE EXPLOITATION AND'APPLICATION OF AVAILABLE TECHNOLOGIES.

IN PARTICULAR INDUSTRIES IT HAS BEEN NECESSARY TO GO FURTHER AND TO ‘ DEVELOP FORMAL BODIES. THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL IS AN EXAMPLE OF A GROUP WHICH HAS BEEN SET UP TO ADDRESS AN AREA OF MAJOR INDUSTRIAL POTENTIAL, WHICH ALSO HAPPENS TO BE OF CURRENT POPULAR CONCERN. THIS

GROUP SEEKS TO GUIDE, INSTRUCT, DEMONSTRATE AND PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR THE USE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES, INCLUDING MICROGRAPHICS AND COMPUTERS, TO ENHANCE THE EFFIENCY OF INDUSTRY.

AUSTRALIA HAS, UNTIL NOW, BEEN SOMEWHAT LAGGING BEHIND IN ITS PROMOTION AND USE OF COMPUTER-AIDED DESIGN AND COMPUTER-AIDED MANUFACTURE (CAD/CAM) COMPARED WITH OTHER INDUSTRIALLY-DEVELOPED COUNTRIES.■ MY DEPARTMENT IS DEMONSTRATING ITS CONFIDENCE IN CAD/CAM IN THE MOST PRACTICAL WAY - BY USING IT IN ITS OWN FACTORIES AS WELL AS PROMOTING IT IN PRIVATE INDUSTRY.

MY DEPARTMENT HAS INAUGURATED A NUMBER OF PROGRAMS AIMED AT IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY IN SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES, FOR EXAMPLE IN TEXTILES, CLOTHING AND FOOTWEAR. IN THESE INDUSTRY SECTORS MANY ENTERPRISES HAVE BEEN PARTICULARLY

AFFECTED BY THE RAPID DEVELOPMENT OF SIMILAR INDUSTRIES IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. BECAUSE OF THE ABILITY OF THESE COUNTRIES TO SELL THEIR PRODUCTS AT MUCH LOWER COST THAN MANY AUSTRALIAN-MADE PRODUCTS, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRIES HAVE SUFFERED A DECLINING SHARE OF THE LOCAL MARKET AND FALLING EMPLOYMENT.

IN AUGUST LAST YEAR THE GOVERNMENT ASKED ME TO EXAMINE THEIR SCOPE FOR PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT. THE DEPARTMENT'S APPROACH HAS BEEN TO SEEK THE COOPERATIVE INVOLVEMENT OF ALL CONCERNED IN THE INDUSTRIES - THE INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS AND EMPLOYERS, THE TRADE UNIONS, AND REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GOVERNMENTS (BOTH COMMONWEALTH AND STATE) AND OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES SUCH AS THE CSIRO. INDUSTRY PROGRAM GROUPS (IPGs) HAVE BEEN FORMED FROM THESE THREE AREAS, THE AIM OF THE IPGs BEING TO IDENTIFY AREAS IN EACH INDUSTRY SECTOR WHICH SHOW POTENTIAL TO PRODUCE THE GREATEST IMPROVEMENT IN PRODUCTIVITY. IN THIS APPROACH THE DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVITY ACTS AS A CATALYST TO SET THE EXAMINATION PROCESSES IN ACTION. .

BY GETTING PEOPLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH ONE ANOTHER, IT IS SURPRISING WHAT IMPROVEMENTS CAN BE GENERATED. THESE INDUSTRY-BASED IPGs PROVIDE AN IMPORTANT EXTENSION TO THE WELL ESTABLISHED WORK OF THE REGIONAL, MULTI­ INDUSTRY, PRODUCTIVITY GROUPS. THESE GROUPS ARE NOW WELL INTEGRATED WITH THE PPCA AND THE DEPARTMENT. A RECENT NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF PRODUCTIVITY GROUP CHAIRMEN FROM THROUGHOUT AUSTRALIA MADE EXTENSIVE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MORE ACTION-ORIENTED ACTIVITIES FOR PRODUCTIVITY GROUPS. LIKE THE

IPGs, PRODUCTIVITY GROUPS HELP IDENTIFY PROBLEMS AND ASSIST IN EFFORTS TO OVERCOME THE PROBLEMS THROUGH TRAINING, WORKSHOPS AND SEMINARS.

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tTHE‘APPROACH OF TOE '3PCs 2S LARGELY ONE OF ..SELF-HELP — WITH ALL ' "PARTICIPANTS "CONTKIBOTIKG "ON "A MUTUALLY AGREED BASIS. THE TEXTILE, CLOTHING AND FOOTWEAR INDUSTRIES APE MADE UP OF ABOUT 3,000 FIRMS, EMPLOYING ABOUT 120,000 PEOPLE AND THERE ARE MANY SMALL FIRMS. IN THESE

"INDUSTRIES. "I AM PLEASED "TO BE ABLE TO "REPORT THAT "DEFINITE· "PROGRESS IN IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY IN THESE INDUSTRIES IS BEING MADE - IN SOME CASES, THE IMPROVEMENT IS QUITE DRAMATIC AND PROVIDES AN ANSWER TO THOSE PEOPLE . WHO SAID THAT SUCH INDUSTRIES COULD NOT SURVIVE IN AUSTRALIA. THERE IS NOW NO DOUBT OF THEIR SURVIVING AND THE MAIN QUESTION REMAINING RELATES

TO THEIR MARKET SHARE. I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT THE COMPANIES WHICH PARTICIPATE MOST EFFECTIVELY IN THE IPGs WILL EXTEND THEIR MARKET SHARES CONSIDERABLY. SIMILAR IPGs IN OTHER INDUSTRIES SHOW PROMISE AS WELL, ALTHOUGH MOST ARE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF ACTIVITY.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS ANNOUNCED" MAJOR .INITIATIVES ‘IN' EMPLOYEE'PARTICIPATION. IT BELIEVES THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE FULLY. AWARE OF DIFFICULTIES AND ARE INVOLVED IN THEIR SOLUTION CAN PARTICIPATE POSITIVELY AND FOR MUTUAL ' BENEFIT. A NATIONAL STEERING COMMITTEE, REPRESENTING EMPLOYER AMD UNION ORGANISATIONS, HAS BEEN SET UP TO PEACH A CONSENSUS ABOUT TERMINOLOGY AND CONCEPTS AND TO CONSIDER METHODS OF IMPLEMENTING EMPL

TO THE MOST CONSTRUCTIVE ATTITUDE TAKEN BY ALL ITS MEMBERS, WHETHER ' ' REPRESENTING THE PUBLIC SECTOR OR THE PRIVATE SECTOR, UNIONS, MANAGEMENTS ■ OR GOVERNMEN T .

WE ARE ALSO VITALLY CONCERNED WITH INDUSTRIAL SAFETY AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH IN TOE INTERACTION OF PEOPLE AND MACHINES, INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENTS NOT ONLY INFLICT PAIN AND SUFFERING ON THOSE INVOLVED, BUT THE COSTS TO INDUSTRY AND THE CONSUMER ARE ASTRONOMICAL. OUR STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT A LARGE PROPORTION OF INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENTS ARE AVOIDABLE. WE ARE ACTIVELY

PROMOTING APPROPRIATE CHANGES TO CURRENT. PRACTICES WHICH WILL COST ■ ■ · . RELATIVELY LITTLE IN TERMS OF FINANCE OR PERSONAL INCONVENIENCE. THE COMMONWEALTH HAS IMPLEMENTED A CODE OF GENERAL PRINCIPLES ON OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH, MUCH OF WHICH HAS ALSO BEEN IMPLEMENTED BY THE STATE

GOVERNMENTS. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE STATE GOVERNMENTS GENERALLY AND THE MINISTERS FOR LABOUR IN PARTICULAR FOR THEIR WILLINGNESS TO SHARE THEIR EXPERTISE WITH US IN THIS VITAL AREA OF HUMAN AND ECONOMIC COST. WE HAVE ALSO INITIATED PILOT-TESTING OF A NATIONAL PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGN

IN AN ATTEMPT TO CHANGE THE ATTITUDES OF EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES. I EXPECT THIS CAMPAIGN TO ACHIEVE A GREAT DEAL OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS.

WITH ALL THE BEST WILL AND MANAGEMENT IN TOE WORLD, ECONOMIES CANNOT EVOLVE WITHOUT SOME DISLOCATION IN THE LIVES OF FIRMS AND INDIVIDUALS. MY DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN STUDYING SUCH THINGS AS REDUNDANCY POLICIES AND PRACTICES, RETIREMENT PLANNING, INFORMATION SHARING WITH EMPLOYEES, AND

TRADE UNION ATTITUDES TO VARIED WORKING HOURS TO ASSESS THE SCOPE FOR AMELIORATION OF SOME OF THE PROBLEMS. IN SHORT, ALTHOUGH THE DEPARTMENT IS STILL QUITE YOUNG, I BELIEVE IT IS MAKING A USEFUL CONTRIBUTION TO IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY IN AUSTRALIA. -

IT IS CONTINUING TO LOOK AT NEW AND INNOVATIVE WAYS OF LIFTING AUSTRALIA'S PRODUCTIVITY PERFORMANCE. IN DOING SO IT RECOGNISES THE NEED TO RAISE THE COMMUNITY'S GENERAL CONSCIOUSNESS OF BENEFITS FLOWING FROM INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY. FOR THIS REASON IT IS CURRENTLY ASSESSING THE IDEA OF HAVING A NATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY YEAR IN 1980 WITH A VIEW TO ADVISING THE GOVERNMENT ON THE MATTER. TOE CONCEPT OF A NATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY YEAR NEEDS A GREAT DEAL OF THOUGHT. TO BE SUCCESSFUL IT WOULD NEED TO HAVE WIDE COMMUNITY SUPPORT. HONOURABLE MEMBERS MIGHT THEREFORE LIKE TO GIVE THIS MATTER SOME THOUGHT AND ADVISE ME OF.THEIR VIEWS ON TOE DESIRABILITY OF SUCH AN INITIATIVE AND HOW TREY THINK IT MIGHT BE ORGANISED.

THUS CONCEIVED. I CHAIR THAT COMMITTEE AND WOULD

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EARLIER THIS YEAR THE PRIME MINISTER SAID:

"IT IS UP TO ALL OF US AS AUSTRALIANS TO COMMIT OURSELVES TO THIS COUNTRY: TO COMMIT OURSELVES TO SUCCESS, TO BOLDNESS, TO INNOVATION: TO SEEK OUT AND DEVELOP NEW MARKETS HERE AND ABROAD, NOT MERELY BY APEING PRODUCTS AND TECHNIQUES DEVISED OVERSEAS, BUT BY DEVELOPING OUR OWN EXPERTISE."

THE CONCEPT OF A NATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY YEAR COULD PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN ENGINEERING THIS SPIRIT OF ENTHUSIASM IN THE COMMUNITY. THE CONTINUED ENDEAVOURS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVITY WILL BE AIMED AT ENGENDERING THIS SPIRIT IN PROGRAMS OF ACTION WITHIN INDUSTRY IN ORDER TO

IMPROVE OUR TRADING POSITION, OUR STANDARDS OF LIVING AND OUR EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS. .

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