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Wednesday, 27 November 1985
Page: 2386

Senator BUTTON (Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce)(5.37) —Senator MacGibbon added little in his speech to what he said in Estimates Committee E. I should deal with a couple of issues he has raised. First of all, there is nothing new in what was said about Project Waler in the course of the Estimates Committee. I have had a personal interest in this matter because of the industry implications; industry understands that. Nonetheless it has been said to me that Project Waler, in spite of not being brought to fruition, was of great benefit to industry in terms of the technology transfer involved. Senator MacGibbon commented about evidence given to the Estimates Committee and suggested that it had been implied that the United States would upgrade its M113s. He threw some doubt on that evidence. As I understand it, the United States does not intend to upgrade the M113s to a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation-type battle vehicle, and Australia's decision to upgrade the M113s was proceeded with on the basis of the strategic consideration that we in this region would not be using such a vehicle in a NATO-type context. I do not think there is anything I have to add to that which was not dealt with in the hearing of the Estimates Committee.