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Thursday, 3 October 1974
Page: 1652

Senator WRIEDT (Tasmania) (Minister for Agriculture) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

This Bill is identical to that introduced in the Senate on 4 April but which lapsed on the dissolution of Parliament on 1 1 April 1974. The principal purpose of this Bill is to implement the Government's proposal to extend the charter of the Commonwealth Development Bank of Australia to provide finance for tourist development projects, especially smaller projects in selected areas. The tourist industry is an important contributor to the overall economic prosperity of this country. The key to the industry's continual growth to satisfy the needs of both domestic and overseas tourists is its ability to obtain adequate investment funds on reasonable terms. Most operators in the industry seeking development finance are experiencing difficulty in obtaining new funds on satisfactory terms, particularly for smaller undertakings in remote areas, and the proposed legislation is designed to help alleviate these problems.

Under the current legislation, the Commonwealth Development Bank's principal function is to provide finance to assist primary production or to establish or develop industrial undertakings, particularly small undertakings in cases where in its opinion finance is desirable but would not otherwise be available on reasonable and suitable terms and conditions. The proposed amendment to section 72 of the Commonwealth Banks Act will widen the Development Bank's function to enable it to provide finance for the establishment or development of undertakings, particularly small undertakings, providing accommodation or transportation for tourists or other facilities designed to attract tourists. The provision of such finance will be subject to the same statutory provisions as those applicable to the Bank's existing lending operations, including the requirement that the Bank should be satisfied the finance would not otherwise be available on reasonable and suitable terms and conditions. The amendment to section 72 will also empower the Development Bank to provide advice and assistance to tourist enterprises.

The Development Bank will be particularly concerned with financing smaller enterprises involved in the development or improvement of tourist facilities away from main population centres. In accordance with the Government's wishes the Development Bank will consult as appropriate with the Departments of Tourism and Recreation, Urban and Regional Development, and Environment and Conservation in carrying out its financial role in the tourist industry.

This Bill also brings into line with the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 the provisions in the Commonwealth Banks Act relating to the determination of the remuneration payable to members of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation Board and the various statutory office holders under the Act. In particular', the amendments effected by clause 4 and the Schedule to the Bill will thus formalise in the Commonwealth Banks Act the requirement that the remuneration payable to the statutory office holders concerned be determined in future by the Remuneration Tribunal established under the Remuneration Tribunal Act. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.

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