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Wednesday, 5 December 1973
Page: 4327

Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) (Prime Minister) - I move:

That the amendments be agreed to.

Some of the amendments were adopted in the Senate on the initiative of the Government, some on the initiative of the Opposition. I shall go through them clause by clause as appearing on the schedule of the amendments. First, there is an amendment to clause 20. The Opposition moved this amendment; the Government accepted it. Next there is an amendment to clause 22. The Government moved this amendment. It did so in order to meet the Australian Farmers Federation's concern that the position of self-employed groups was not sufficiently recognised in the policy guide lines laid down for the Industries Assistance Commission. The Government was pleased to show in this way that it had the interests of self-employed persons, for example the man on the land or the small businessman, in mind. It was glad to receive the support of the Opposition on this amendment.

In regard to clause 23 the Government moved the first 4 amendments numbered 3 to 6 inclusive on the Schedule and the Opposition moved the fifth which is No. 7 on the Schedule. The Government added to sub-clause (3) a provision which met representations by the Australian Farmers Federation thai the new Commission should not be plunged immediately into the complex task of providing recommendations on rural matters such as the wheat industry stabilisation and marketing arrangements and the review of the CommonwealthState Sugar Arrangement. This means that there is now a phasing in period secured by providing that the mandatory provisions should not take effect in respect of financial assistance until 1 July next at the earliest. This is in line with Sir John Crawford's report. The Government welcomes the Opposition's support on this amendment. The Government, having decided to accept the proposed amendment by the Liberal Party which would extend from 1 year to 2 years the period for which financial assistance can be granted to an industry without reference to the Commission, decided to redraft paragraphs (f), (g) and (h) of sub-clause 4 to make them clearer. The redrafting incorporated the 2-year period recommended by the Liberal Party. Sub-clause (5) was omitted as a result of the redraft. The Government accepted the Liberal amendment which adds the words 'or to a particular group or groups of primary or secondary industries' after the word 'industry' wherever occurring.

The next amendment is to clause 24. This was moved by the Liberal Party. It means that the Commission cannot begin inquiries on its own initiative until assistance has been unreviewed for 10 years rather than for 6 years. The Government accepted this amendment. In relation to clause 25, the Opposition moved this amendment. There were consequential amendments to clauses 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31. The amendments have the effect of establishing a Temporary Assistance Authority outside the Commission. The Government accepted these amendments.

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