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Tuesday, 15 March 1966

Mr Webb b asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply, upon notice -

1.   Did the Department place an overseas order for $1,000,000 worth of earth moving equipment for the Army when machines were available from local manufacturers?

2.   If so, why?

3.   Did the local manufacturers tender at a price lower than that for the overseas machines with Customs duty added?

4.   Is it the practice to add duty to overseas prices when comparing tenders when an Australian manufacturer is concerned?

Mr Fairhall - The Minister for Supply has supplied the following information -

1.   The Department placed an order to the value of $844,000 for earth moving scrapers having an imported content of 85 per cent. Suitable machines were not available from local manufacturers.

2.   The tender specification expressed the need for a machine that was a standard commercial product, but nevertheless it contained critical performance requirements to meet the flexible operational role required by the Army. Neither tender fully met the specification, but the successful tender came close to doing so whereas the local manufacturer (with an imported content of 24 per cent.) failed by a significant margin. The successful tender was able to do this and yet still fulfil the general requirement of being a standard commercial product.

3.   Yes, but in this case the technical considerations referred to were decisive.

4.   In comparing tenders where local and imported goods are in competition, the applicable duty is always added to the tender for the imparted article - thus Australian industry is afforded the protection to which it is entitled under the Tariff.

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