Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 3 November 1983
Page: 2319

Mr DUFFY (Minister for Communications and Acting Minister Assisting the Minister for Industry and Commerce)(4.57) —in reply-I thank the honourable member for Ryan (Mr Moore) and the honourable member for Burke (Dr Theophanous) for their contributions. As was indicated, the purpose of this Bill is to continue bounty assistance during 1983-84 to the manufacture in Australia of certain refrigerated room air-conditioners. As was outlined by the previous speakers, the concern relates particularly to the Email Ltd-owned Kelvinator Australia Ltd plant in Adelaide, which has been subjected to severe import competition. The extension of the bounty is designed to assist the company to secure sales of its locally produced air-conditioners. However, given existing high levels of imported stocks, the bounty may do little to assist Email contain competition from new imports in 1983-84. Accordingly, the Government has also introduced import restraints for 1983-84 by a tariff quota limiting imports for that period to 55 per cent of the 1982-83 level. These combined temporary measures-bounty and tariff quota-are considered essential if the local industry is to regain economies of scale to ensure its future viability.

The honourable member for Ryan raised the question of retrospectivity. It should be pointed out that it does not apply in the way in which he may have felt it applied. In this case importers involved in servicing the room air- conditioners market should have been well aware of the need to exercise caution in placing orders and entering into financial commitments. The first reference to the Temporary Assistance Authority on assistance for the manufacture of room air-conditioners was announced in August 1982 and the second was announced in April 1983. Both announcements carried an explicit warning to importers.

Future viability of local manufacture depends on regaining a market share of around 30 per cent and increasing production to an economic level. Import quotas are necessary to achieve this. Imports should still account for about 70 per cent of the 1983-84 market. The market is likely to remain highly competitive. If hardship concessions are allowed this will frustrate the purpose of the tariff quota. But the honourable member for Ryan may be interested to know that, if evidence emerges that local production and quota imports cannot adequately service the higher market demand, the Minister can authorise some relaxation.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.