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Tuesday, 6 March 1984
Page: 482

Senator GRIMES (Minister for Social Security)(8.03) —I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows-

This Bill proposes to amend the Automatic Data Processing Equipment Bounty Act 1977 to extend the period of that Act until the Government announces its decision on the longer term assistance arrangements to apply to the computer hardware, software and related industries.

The Act, due to cease on 28 March 1984, provides bounty assistance to the production in Australia of certain ADP equipment and parts at the rate of 7.5 per cent of the value added in Australia by ADP equipment manufacturers.

The Government received the Industries Assistance Commission's final report on these industries on 10 February 1984 and expects to be able to announce its decision by 6 May 1984.

In the absence of extended bounty assistance, the computer industry would have been left with minimal assistance.

This would have placed the industry in a difficult position, particularly in tendering for contracts during the intervening period.

The proposed extension of the bounty scheme is therefore intended to create a stable environment within which the industry can continue to operate.

The Government recognises the importance of ADP equipment manufacture in Australia. This industry and the computer software industry are considered to be activities that can improve the competitiveness of Australian manufacturers and commerce generally.

The Government's decisions on these important industries will take into account these factors and the close inter-relationship with other industry sectors, including robots and metal working machine tools.

The cost of the extension of the ADP bounty until 6 May 1984 is expected to be less than $200,000.

I commend the Bill to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator Kilgariff) adjourned.