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Friday, 11 October 1985
Page: 1116

(Question No. 251)

Senator Chaney asked the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce, upon notice, on 8 May 1985:

What is the current effective rate of protection for the steel industry?

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

Under the Steel Industry Plan, which commenced on 1 January 1984, the Commonwealth provides direct assistance to the steel industry through both tariffs and bounties.

It is difficult to measure the effective level of assistance provided by the bounties as they cover less than 50 per cent of the industry's output and operate on a sliding scale which provides for a phasing out of bounty payments as output increases. In any year the amount of bounty payment depends on the health of the industry.

Bounty payments for 1984-85 were $53.6m (about 75 per cent of the total available bounty). Based on an estimate for bounty payments in 1984-85 of $54.8m on the Industries Assistance Commission has indicated that the level of effective assistance provided by bounties and tariffs in 1984-85 would be of the order of 19 per cent (compared with 16 per cent in 1981-82).