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Industry commission draft report - medical & scientific equipment industries

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Productivity Commission



Embargoed until Monday 16 September 1996

Industry Commission Draft Report—Medical & Scientific Equipment Industries

The local medical and scientific industries have shown that Australians can develop and export high tech products in competition with the rest of the world. This is just one of the highlights of the draft report on the medical and scientific equipment industries, released today by the Industry Commission.

“The local medical and scientific equipment industries are the quiet achievers of Australian manufacturing”, said Mr Jeffrey Rae, the Presiding Commissioner on the Commission’s inquiry into these industries. "They have little or no tariff protection, are highly innovative, have technical skills in depth and are strongly export-orientated.“

“Innovation is sustained by expenditure on research and development at a rate which is eight times that for all manufacturing in Australia. Indeed, their rate is comparable with that of the leading edge equipment industries of the US”, Mr Rae said.

“The industries employ people with vocational or tertiary education at three times the rate of all manufacturing in Australia. And they export three times as much of their output as does all manufacturing, with major markets in Europe, the US and Japan. These are the most sophisticated and demanding markets for such equipment in the world.”

Exports of medical and scientific equipment have doubled in just five years and now approach $1 billion a year.

The key question for Australian governments is how to nurture productivity and efficiency in these industries. The priority policy issues addressed by the draft report are the removal of barriers to enhanced performance due to regulation, government procurement and tariff protection.

The Commission invites public comment upon its draft report. It will be conducting public hearings on the draft report in late October 1996. X X X

For more information...

Jeffrey Rae, Presiding Commissioner (03) 9653 2285 018 625 372

Carleen Schmalz, Public Affairs (03) 9653 2183

Copies of the report are available from Irene Jenson on (03) 9653 2117.

Forming the Productivity Commission: The Commonwealth 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 Treasurer's portfolio and amalgamation has proceeded on an administrative basis. While appropriate arrangements are being finalised, the work program of each of the agencies will continue.