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Tuesday, 4 December 1973
Page: 4181

Mr REYNOLDS (BARTON, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is addressed to the Minister for Secondary Industry. I ask him whether his attention has been drawn to an article in the 'Canberra Times' of 29 November 1973 which states:

A marked increase in the inventiveness of Australians has been reported by the Patent Office . . A considerable increase in the number of applications to the Patent Office now make it the ninth-busiest in the world.

I ask: What initiatives are being undertaken by this Government to foster the natural inventiveness of the Australian community and to ensure that all Australians benefit from inventions which are the result of this Australian characteristic?

Mr ENDERBY (Minister for Secondary Industry) - My attention has been drawn to the newspaper article to which the honourable gentleman referred. In recent months there has been correspondence between my office and the Inventors Association of Australia, which put a very strong case to enable it better to present a case for assistance to inventors. There have also been discussions on this matter. Indeed, the honourable member was very helpful in bringing a delegation from the Inventors Association to see me a little while ago. The whole problem must be related to the Government's proposals to take account of the fact that invention is a very important contributing factor to overall welfare. Big firms can finance research themselves but small firms often cannot do so. The Government already has before this House proposals which are designed to give assistance to small firms. It is being done by way of amendments to the Industrial Research and Development Grants Act. The whole problem also is related to the Government's proposals to assist small business because small business needs the assistance, the innovation that can come from small inventors. But that still leaves outside the existing system the individual inventor who through his own ingenuity, imagination and drive comes across a problem, solves, to a large extent, the technical aspects of the problem, but then cannot cope with the next stage of solving the problem. It is with that in mind that I hope soon to be able to put to the Government proposals to effect still further improvements in that regard.

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