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Tuesday, 23 August 1983
Page: 78

Question No. 38

Mr Allan Morris asked the Minister for Administrative Services, upon notice, on 3 May 1983:

Can all existing Government contracts, all new Government contracts and all contracts in which the Commonwealth has some involvement be structured so as to ensure that Australian iron and steel is used exclusively, except in those cases where there is not an appropriate Australian product.

Mr John Brown —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The issue of purchasing preference for Australian made goods is currently under review, with a view to implementing the Government's pre-election commitments; in the meantime interim arrangements, announced on 15 December 1982, apply. These arrangements include a preference margin in the form of a notional discount for comparison purposes of 20 per cent of the Australian Content of goods for purchases valued from $10 000 to $1 000 000 and consideration by ministers of purchases valued above $100 000 to determine whether any additional preference is justified. For purchases up to $10 000 value 20 per cent is notionally added to offers of goods identified as of overseas origin.

The Government is firmly committed to the maintenance of an efficient viable steel industry in Australia. The need for assistance to the industry is fully recognised and the Government is expected to produce, in the near future, a steel development plan to ensure the long term survival of the industry.

The suggestion that Government contracting arrangements be reviewed to ensure maximum usage of Australian iron and steel has been noted. The appropriate time for consideration of this suggestion is in the context of the Government's decision on a long term assistance package for the steel industry.