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Thursday, 5 December 1985
Page: 3017

Senator GRIMES (Manager of Government Business) —I inform honourable senators that Senator Gietzelt will not be here at Question Time. Any questions to be directed to him should be directed to me.


Senator BJELKE-PETERSEN —My question is addressed to the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce. I do not think he is in the chamber.

Senator Peter Baume —Ask the question anyway. It is 2 p.m. It is Question Time.

Senator BJELKE-PETERSEN —I refer the Minister to his Government's decision to replace the commencement grant scheme for industry research with tax concessions for companies spending more than $20,000 on research and development. As the majority of commencement grants were under $20,000, does the Minister agree that this new scheme will effectively prevent many small businesses from qualifying for government assistance in the important area of industry research? In the light of widespread concern in the small business community over the impending abolition of the commencement grant scheme, will the Minister advise whether his Government will reverse its decision to wind up the scheme after 30 June next year?

Senator GRIMES —The good senator seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth at the moment.

Senator Peter Baume —He should be here for Question Time.

Senator GRIMES —Of course he should be here. I will find out why he is not. Neither Senator Walsh nor I have the information or the skill to answer that question, so I will refer it to Senator Button when and if he turns up.