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Monday, 22 October 1973
Page: 2435

Mr EDWARDS (Berowra) - This clause refers to the functions of the Commission which are to hold inquiries and to make reports to the Minister in accordance with this Act in respect of matters affecting assistance to industries and 'other matters' that may be referred to the Commission in accordance with this Act. I rise to suggest that the area of possible inquiry by the Commission under this clause does appear a vast one, so vast that it undoubtedly opens up, or can well open up, the prospect of the Commission blossoming into a huge bureaucracy. This is a point which was well taken by one of my colleagues. It is intended that the Commission itself should do all the work of assembling the necessary data for its inquiries? Sir John Crawford had a great deal to say about this in paragraphs 118 to 128 of the report. But I ask the Minister for Secondary Industry (Mr Enderby): How far will the hope as expressed as I read it in Sir John's report, and widely held in industry, that the Commission should draw as much information as possible from the relevant departments brought in by this extension of the purview of the commission by the Bill - the Departments of Primary Industry. Secondary Industry, Minerals and Energy and

Transport - and supplement this only as required from its own resources, be realised?

One could perhaps go further and propose that it should in fact be the duty of the relevant departments assisted as appropriate by, for example, the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and the Bureau of Mineral Resources, where it is proposed to refer an industry to the Commission for report as to what assistance if any should be afforded it, to prepare some sort of initial position study of the industry for the benefit of interested members of the public as well as for the industry itself, related industries and the Commission, this study to be forwarded to the Commission with the reference. Of course, the Commission might wish to top this up, so to speak, in various ways. But if this were done much of the burden of detailed investigation of an industry would not need to be duplicated. Perhaps in this way the size of the Commission bureaucracy, about which I think there are legitimate fears, might be contained. I do not intend to make any formal proposal in that respect. But I would certainly express the hope that the Commission will work more along these lines.

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