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Monday, 9 September 1996
Page: 3036


Senator O'CHEE —I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

That the Senate—

(a)   notes:

   (i)   a letter written by the Tax Concessions Committee of the Industry Research and Development Board to the then Minister for Industry, Science and Technology (Senator Cook) on 8 August 1995,

   (ii)   that in the letter the committee sought immediate legal advice from the Minister about the `usurping' of its powers by AusIndustry, which overturned the committee's recommendation that the 150 per cent industry research and development (IR&D) concession to the John Bertrand America's Cup syndicate be withdrawn because of its failure to comply with reporting requirements and its failure to carry out the proposed research and development (R&D), which the committee had reason to believe was `only the beginning, and serious discrepancies may exist in the nature of the R&D performed and the location of the expenditure (overseas)', and

   (iii)   that the committee further complained that `allegations made by a senior public servant of corruption in the tax concession scheme', which should have been referred to the committee, were wrongly referred to the Industry, Research and Development Board, causing the committee `grave concern'; and

(b)   expresses its serious concern that Senator Cook never replied to the committee and failed to respond to its request for an urgent private meeting during his remaining 7 months in office, and that he and his ministerial colleagues not only allowed such allegedly multi-million dollar rorts of the IR&D system to continue despite such high-level warnings, but also appointed the person who headed this syndicate to be chairman of the board that swept this matter under the carpet.