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Tuesday, 29 November 1983
Page: 2973

Question No. 404

Senator Bolkus asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce, upon notice, on 6 October 1983:

(1) Has the Minister for Industry and Commerce received correspondence dated 8 September 1983 from the Vehicle Builders Employees' Federation of Australia ( South Australian Branch) with respect to the importation of 'knock down kits' of imported buses.

(2) Are such kits being imported and assembled in Western Australia and Victoria.

(3) Could such kits be manufactured in Australia at at least the same or at a comparable cost.

(4) Has the Minister considered the disallowance of the importation of such buses in view of the high level of unemployment in Australia.

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

(1) Yes.

(2) To my Department's knowledge over recent times only one bus kit form has been imported into Western Australia while five 49-seat school/route buses have been imported into Victoria in kit form. The school buses are currently being assembled by a Victorian bus body builder.

(3) The Department has been advised that final costs of the buses assembled from the kits imported into Victoria will not be known until assembly is completed. The importer expects the cost to be comparable with that of locally produced buses. The Department understands that the importer in Western Australia has concluded that assembly of that particular kit is not commercially viable in Australia.

(4) The question of assistance to the production of buses in Australia is currently being considered by the Industries Assistance Commission in its inquiry into long term assistance for heavy commercial vehicles, parts and accessories. The Commission is due to report by 29 February 1984.