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Thursday, 30 August 1973
Page: 656

Dr J W CAIRNS (LALOR, VICTORIA) (Minister for Overseas Trade) - Yes. In addition, those investments will have been approved by an independent supervisory council appointed specifically to watch the interests of those who invest in the National Investment Fund and given appropriate strong powers. The council will have a trust responsibility. The Bill provides that the supervisory council will consist predominantly of people whose experience in investment will contribute to the skilful management and investment of the Fund. I have no doubt that suitably skilled and nationally-minded Australians will be willing to serve in this important task. Equally I have no doubt that they will work in harmony with the Board of AIDC to achieve the purposes for which we are building up the Corporation and creating the Fund.

The Board of the Corporation will continue to be responsible for carrying out the Corporation's functions of developing Australian industry and maximising Australian ownership. It will decide when and how AIDC is to assist companies or participate in projects on the same basis of sound principles as before and will manage AIDC's investments, including those financed by the National Investment Fund or undertaken in the national interest with govermnent money or a government guarantee. It is essential, for the preservation of AIDC's commercial borrowing status and its ability to work in close co-operation with other companies in industrial ventures, that the Board remain free to exercise independent judgment in discharging the commercial aspects of its responsibilities. Where the Government supplies money in national interest cases, of course, the Corporation will be required to use that money for the specified purpose and in accordance with the terms and conditions laid down by the Government. But the Bill is drawn so that in these cases the Government, having made clear what it proposes and why it is acting, will carry the financial responsibilities and risks. The normal commercial funds of AIDC, and lenders who contribute to those funds, are completely protected against any losses or costs that result from national interest investments.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - There will be no risk at all to the ordinary investor.

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