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Wednesday, 20 August 1980
Page: 485


Dr EDWARDS (BEROWRA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Has the Minister for Industry and Commerce seen an article in today's Australian entitled 'Businesses in front line to revitalise economy', but suggesting 'Few incentives to provide the inspiration'? Can the Minister inform the House what measures were contained in the Budget which will assist manufacturing industry?


Mr LYNCH (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) (Minister for Industry and Commerce) - I have seen the article. It correctly identifies the private sector as the area of the economy most important in realising this country's potential for growth and development. Of particular importance in the Treasurer's speech last night was the reference to the expected real increase of some 10 per cent in business fixed investment in 1980-81. This stimulus, certainly in prospect, reflects in large measure the success of the Government's economic policies in recent years. This Budget continues to follow that strategy. I think it is of interest to the House to report that very significant business associations around the country, including the Confederation of Australian Industry and the Metal Trades Industry Association of Australia, have welcomed the Budget as a responsible one which certainly should assist business confidence and further support the improvement of industries' competitiveness. Recognising industries' competitive need to be more export oriented, more innovative, and more technologically advanced than at the present time, the Budget continues to accord very high priority to specific incentives which are designed to assist industry policy objectives.

Outlays on industry development programs have received particular attention over the past three years. Funding for the export development schemes and the industrial research and development program has increased from $43. 7m in 1977-78 to almost $3 14m in 1980-81, which is a sevenfold increase. This year, funding of the export development programs is up by 21 per cent, and the industrial research and development assistance will increase by 55 per cent. I also mention the significance of the business depreciation breakthrough which the Budget has indicated. This will provide Australian industry with additional incentive to modernise capital equipment requirements, and of course is complementary to the investment allowance, which will continue to apply at the existing level. The Budget is entirely consistent with the Government's antiinflationary strategy but, within the expenditure constraint requirements of the strategy, further significant increases in industry development programs have been provided.







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