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Thursday, 24 June 2004
Page: 31624


Dr EMERSON (10:45 AM) —I move:

(1) Clause 2, page 2, table item 2, omit the table item.

Labor see a very positive future for the textile, clothing and footwear industry in this country. We see high value textile, clothing and footwear products making an impact not only in Australia but also on the world market. We want to give this industry the opportunity to strut its stuff, to show how effective and competitive it can be. We support in particular the structural adjustment program and the SIP funding and we would like to see that funding flow to the industry. That is why I am proposing that we pass the amendment to this bill that I have already circulated.

In the textile, clothing and footwear industry, as I have said, high-value textiles, clothing and footwear products can be globally competitive, and many of ours are. They need to embody high skills and innovation in order to compete on the global market. We cannot compete against very low cost imports from China, where labour costs overwhelmingly determine the price of those products, but we are much more competitive in areas where there is a high skill content and a high innovation content. It is a tribute to the adaptability of the textile, clothing and footwear industry in this country that, against fierce international competition, many of our TCF facilities are going pretty well. But they do need ongoing support to make the transition to the high-skill, high-innovation content, and that is why we support the SIP funding and we would like to see that funding flowing to the textile, clothing and footwear industry at the earliest possible date.