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Thursday, 13 April 1989
Page: 1542

(Question No. 831)

Senator Boswell asked the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce, upon notice, on 2 March 1989:

Has the Department or portfolio sponsored, or part sponsored, any overseas trips by trade unionists since 1 January 1988; if so, (a) what was the purpose of the trips; (b) who were the participants and what was their union; (c) what was the name of any departmental official who accompanied them; (d) what were the dates and itinerary of each trip; (e) what percentage of each trip was paid for by the Commonwealth Government; (f) in each instance what was the cost of each trip to the Commonwealth; and (g) what was the cost and class of airfares, the cost of accommodation, the cost of car hire and the cost of other items.

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

There has only been one overseas visit of trade unionists sponsored by an agency of my portfolio since 1 January 1988. The agency involved was the Automotive Industry Authority which part-sponsored an overseas mission for the automotive industry.

(a) The main task of the study mission was to examine issues relevant to the restructuring of the existing classifications in various house awards and the contributions that plant-level skill formation, career structures and accreditation, and work and management organisation make to international competitiveness.

(b) Union participants partly funded by the Authority were; Ian Ross (Australian Council of Trade Unions); Wayne Blair and Tony Butler (Vehicle Builders Employees' Federation); Brian Mowbray (Amalgamated Metal Workers' Union)

(c) The mission was led by the Chairman of the Automotive Industry Authority, Bill Scales and Ms Carol Walker, Personal Assistant to the Chairman, acted as the group's secretary and assisted with the preparation of the report.

(d) The itinerary included Japan (19 to 21 September 1988), the United States (22 to 24 September 1988), the Federal Republic of Germany (26 to 29 September 1988) and Sweden (3 to 7 October 1988).

(e) 45% of the union participants' mission costs.

(f) The union delegates' cost met by the Automotive Industry Authority were $34,000.

(g) The Department of Industrial Relations were responsible for organising and managing the mission. They controlled the funds, the Automotive Industry Authority contributed to the pool. Industry (manufacturers and unions) contributed the majority of funds. The Department of Industrial Relations will be supplying a total mission costing in their response to the question.