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Tuesday, 4 December 1973
Page: 4234

Mr ENDERBY (Australian Capital Territory) (Minister for Secondary Industry and Minister for Supply) - in reply - It is indeed pleasant for the Government to find the degree of unanimity of support that there has been for this proposal, and the Government in turn of course recognises that the Act which is now being amended has had a degree of success. The features of the Act that required attention can best be spelt out by the figures which I will now give to the House. They will indicate the way in which the Act, as it was beginning to work, was beginning to give increasingly large sums of money to a very small number of very large firms. For example, the sum going to ACI Operations Pty Ltd, a recipient company, went from $269,000 in 1969-70 - I am going to the nearest $1,000 -to $466,000 in 1971-72. Similarly the amount paid to Amalgamated Wireless Australasia Ltd was $285,000 in 1969-70 and jumped to $488,000 in 1971-72. In the case of the Colonial Sugar Refinery Co. Ltd it went from $138,000 in 1969-70 to $353,000 in 1971-72. One could go on giving some other examples.

As the honourable member for Barton (Mr Reynolds) reminded the House, in my second reading speech I drew attention to the fact that, as the scheme was operating at the end of last year, one realised that one-fiftieth of the recipient companies were receiving approximately one-third of the moneys. One can have no quarrel with that generally, except that one does have the thought that perhaps the companies were going to spend that much money on research in any event, and that the money produced by the scheme was not acting as an incentive and that it would have been better to spend the money in a way that would assist smaller companies. As honourable members on both sides of the House have commented, the underlying scheme of the Bill is to distribute the money far wider than has been the case in the past. An amount of $16. 5m was allocated in this Budget for 1973-74 compared with an expenditure of $14m in 1972-73.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

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