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Tuesday, 28 August 1973
Page: 455

Dr J F CAIRNS (Lalor) (Minister for Overseas Trade and Minister for Secondary Industry) - in reply - I would like to mention one or two points raised by the honourable member for Berowra (Mr Edwards). I am sorry I was not in the chamber to hear all that he had to say, but I got some indication of what he said about the remarks of the Treasurer (Mr Crean) about the relationship between the comprehensive review of the tariff and this proposal. I can assure him that there is nothing inconsistent in what the Treasurer has said and the Government's intention, which was derived from that of its predecessor, to continue the comprehensive review of the tariff that the Tariff Board has set out to make. Similarly there is nothing inconsistent in the proposal now before the House, nor, if I might depart from strict order for a second or two, is there anything inconsistent between this Bill and the Government's recent 25 per cent reduction of tariffs.

Mr Edwards - How do you sustain that?

Dr J F CAIRNS - Quite easily. This bounty has been paid on cellulose acetate produced in Australia since 1956. It was a continuing policy under the previous Government and is continuing under this one. The Tariff Board report of 1971 recommended extension of the bounty period until the results of the 1975 review of the chemicals industry were known. So first of all the Government, in the Bill before the House, gives effect to a decision which is consistent with the policy for this industry since 1956 and which is consistent with the report of the Tariff Board of 1971 about continuing this bounty until 30 June 1976. It is in no way inconsistent with the decision to reduce tariffs. I suppose it would have been out of order, Mr Deputy Speaker, for the honourable member for Berowra to express his attitude to that matter and to say whether he favoured it or did not favour it. I was waiting for him to do that.

Mr Edwards - I was going to do that but I was cut off by the Deputy Speaker.

Dr j F CAIRNS - I am sure you were. If I may depart from order, this action taken by the Government about the tariff cut was one that was taken on the recommendation of a committee, the chairman of which was the Chairman of the Tariff Board.

Mr Edwards - But not acting in accordance with the section of the Act to which 1 referred nor section 16aa.

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