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Industry Commission Releases Book Printing Draft Report

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Productivity Commission


Embargoed until 1.00 am Thursday 1 August 1996

Industry Commission Releases Book Printing Draft Report

In a draft report released today for public comment, the Industry Commission recommends that the book bounty cease when the present scheme terminates at the end of 1997.

Presiding Commissioner Professor Tor Hundloe said, ‘The low level of bounty now applying has little effect on book printing in Australia, and the

administrative and compliance costs of bounty probably now outweigh its benefits. Technological change has significantly improved the competitiveness of local book printers’.

The inquiry found that competitiveness has been improving steadily. Bountiable book production has increased by 50 per cent over the last four years despite falling bounty rates. Thus removing the 4.5 per cent bounty at the end of 1997 will have a fairly small effect on the industry.

The Commission also examined intellectual property issues for books. Australian copyright regulation allows holders of the Australian copyright for particular titles to prevent others from importing legitimate copies of those books into Australia (ie they can prevent parallel imports).

Changes made in 1991 have resulted in some improvements in supply to the Australian market. Nevertheless, as a result of this regulation, Australian readers continue to pay higher prices than in some other markets. The Commission recommends that restrictions on parallel importation of legitimate

copies of printed books be removed.

The Commission also recommends that the Australian Government vigorously resist current international proposals to strengthen standards of copyright protection worldwide, unless appropriate analysis indicates that such changes

would be beneficial. Associate Commissioner Nicholas Gruen said: ‘Why should we extend intellectual property protection internationally without a good understanding of the likely effects of the proposals?’ over /




Embargoed until 1.00 am Thursday 1 August 1996

Further information:



Professor Tor Hundloe

Mr Nicholas Gruen

Mr Jim Roberts

(06) 240 3204 or (07) 3365 3922

(06) 240 3210

(06) 240 3246

Forming the Productivity Commission The Federal Government, as part of its broader microeconomic reform agenda, is merging the Bureau of Industry Economics, the Economic Planning Advisory Commission and the Industry Commission to form the Productivity Commission. The three agencies are now co-located in the Treasury portfolio and amalgamation has begun

on an administrative basis. While appropriate arrangements are being finalised, the work program of each of the agencies will continue. The relevant legislation will be introduced soon. This report has been produced by the Industry Commission.

Copies of the report are available from Jill Irvine, Industry Commission, on (06) 240 3223.