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Friday, 16 June 1989
Page: 4278


Senator COOK (Minister for Resources)(2.31) —The Government is sensitive to the issue about commercial confidentiality that has been raised by Senator Austin Lewis. I will quickly say why we wish to keep the present arrangements and reject these amendments. First, we are relatively sure that industry is relaxed about the present arrangements. We have consulted, as best we can, a number of bodies in the period since we became aware of these amendments. None of them have raised any serious difficulty. From that point of view, we believe that the existing proposal is adequate.

Secondly, the existing proposal matches that already operating in the Industries Assistance Commission (IAC). The IAC has been around for about 20 years. There have been no problems about its observance of commercial confidentiality. There has been no scandal. We think that that is a reasonable model and we see no reason to change. We cite a further reason. Some of the users of this Commission may be people who are used to the IAC procedures. A degree of familiarity with those procedures is probably an advantage in that, if there is a congruence between both, at least people who use both know what those procedures are and they are clear. For those reasons, we reject the amendments.