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Tuesday, 25 March 1980
Page: 949

Senator CHANEY - Senator Watsonasked me a question last week and I sought leave to incorporate in Hansard a reply which was provided for me by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I provided the reply to Hansard along with a Press release which was attached and the Press release has been incorporated. So that the record is set straight, I seek leave again to incorporate in Hansard the reply provided by the Minister to the question asked by Senator Watson on 19 March 1980.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows-

The Minister for Industry and Commerce has provided me with the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

I am aware of the Press statement issued by Mr Eckersley on 16 March and other statements along similar lines raised in recent months by the National Farmers Federation. Mr Eckersley's reference that 500,000 employment opportunities would be foregone if there were no change to current assistance levels in the textiles, clothing and footwear industry appears to draw on projections published by the Industries Assistance Commission in their 1978-79 annual report. The IAC projections showed that by 1990 some 380,000 additional jobs might result on the basis of Australia 's share of imports by developing Asian countries being 3 per cent in 1990 compared with VA per cent in 1976. It seems that the National Farmers Federation went within the IAC projections and assumed that Australia's share of imports by developing Asian countries could rise by 5 per cent and thus create about 500,000 additional jobs in 1990. The IAC itself pointed out that its projections could not be thought of as predictions and need to be looked at with caution because they did not take into account a range of significant factors such as changes in industry structures both in Australia and Asia and movements in exchange rates.

At the same time the textiles clothing and footwear industries have argued that widespread social and economic disruption would occur if the recommendations in the draft IAC report were implemented. The Government expects shortly to receive the final reports by the IAC on long term assistance arrangements for the three industries. When reaching decisions on these arrangements the Government will take fully into account the views of all interested parties together with the advice received from the IAC. In regard to the significance of the textiles clothing and footwear industries for non-metropolitan areas the council for regional industries, which represents a large number of municipal and shire councils, gave evidence on this matter at the draft report hearings of the Commission. I will arrange for a copy of that evidence to be provided to the honourable senator.

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