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Tuesday, 2 October 1984
Page: 1056

(Question No. 938)

Senator Peter Rae asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 6 June 1984:

What action has the Government taken in pursuance of its promise to 'strengthen the Trade Practices Act to protect small business'.

Senator Gareth Evans —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

Since coming to office in March 1983 the Government has taken a number of initiatives in relation to trade practices matters which are intended, amongst other things, to assist small business.

The Government has increased the funding and staffing of the Trade Practices Commission to allow it to perform its functions more effectively than has been possible for some years. In particular, the computer being acquired by the Commission will assist in dealing with complaints from small business.

Also, in February 1984, in conjunction with the Ministers for Employment and Industrial Relations and Home Affairs and Environment, I released a Green Paper detailing proposals to strengthen the Trade Practices Act. Whilst a strong and effective Trade Practices Act benefits all efficient businesses, both large and small, as well as consumers, some of the proposals in the Green Paper are more directly aimed at allowing small business to compete with larger enterprises on more equal terms. A large number of submissions on the Green Paper were received from all interested sectors including small business. These submissions are now being considered and the proposals are being re-assessed in the light of those submissions.