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Wednesday, 25 March 1987
Page: 1303

Senator FOREMAN —I refer the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce to an article in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald by David Robertson entitled `Local Car Parts Industry Beefs up Export Push'. In view of the potential that the article indicates for the export of vehicle components, can the Minister say whether the Government has any policy initiatives to accelerate the growth of these exports?

Senator Peter Baume —A dorothy dixer!

Senator BUTTON —It is not a dorothy dixer; I do not happen to have the answer. The Government has taken a number of initiatives to improve the efficiency and export potential of the components sector. Until the marked devaluation of the Australian dollar there were a number of component exporters in Australia. They had a natural advantage in terms of access to raw materials, low energy costs and so on. The range of components now being exported has expanded significantly. That has happened as a result of the devaluation of the dollar and also because of specific measures taken by the Government, such as the export facilitation scheme, as part of the motor vehicle plan and a special export facilitation scheme for component manufacturers which was introduced at the end of last year. The purpose of that was to try to help importers into Australia of fully built up vehicles who can earn credits in exchange for export activity in overseas markets. A number of those things seem to be working. I think the great challenge to the component sector is the continual one of improving quality and reliability of manufacture. It has to keep working at that. But apart from that, the opportunities are enormous and the results are already significant.