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Wednesday, 14 September 1983
Page: 756

Mr BLANCHARD —Is the Minister for Science and Technology in a position to announce the Government's decision on the Espie report on the provision of venture capital for the development of high technology industries?

Mr BARRY JONES —I thank the honourable member for Moore. I am pleased to announce that I am in a position to answer his question. This morning Cabinet adopted a joint submission from the Minister for Industry and Commerce and me for the provision of tax incentives for private sector venture capital companies, as the Treasurer foreshadowed in his Budget Speech. The Cabinet decision follows the detailed proposals of the Report on Developing High Technology Enterprises for Australia prepared by the High Technology Financing Committee of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences, chaired by Sir Frank Espie. Shareholders in management and investment companies-MICs-will be entitled to tax deductions at a rate of 100 per cent.

Mr Hawke —Micks?

Mr BARRY JONES —I do not want to be sectarian. The MICs will in effect be syndicates of investors with a wide range of portfolio investments in high technology companies, not just concentrating in one or two types of technology. It is hoped that the MICs will be geographically spread and not just concentrated in Sydney and Melbourne. A licensing board will be set up to administer and monitor the program and to grant licences to the MICs. The licensing board will be my responsibility, although I will work in close consultation with my old colleague and friend the Minister for Industry and Commerce, because of the enormous implications of the scheme for old and new industries.

Mr Cadman —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. It has long been the practice of the House that Ministers can make statements following Question Time. I suggest that the Minister avail himself of that process.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! There is no point of order.

Mr BARRY JONES —This decision is an indication of the Government's commitment not only to sunrise industries but also to using modern technologies to revitalise our existing industrial base. The Minister for Industry and Commerce and I will hold a Press conference this afternoon to provide further details. We are at the beginning of a new industrial revolution for Australia. The Espie mechanism will be a great catalyst and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation will be working in it too.