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Productivity Commission to inquire into post-2005 automotive industry arrangements.

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Details of a Productivity Commission inquiry into post-2005 assistance arrangements for the automotive sector were announced today by the Treasurer and the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources.

"The Commission has been asked to examine the issues and to report back to the Government within six months," Mr Costello said.

"The Government appreciates the automotive sector has long investment lead times and the car industry needs early notice of policy settings that will apply from 2005, when passenger motor vehicle tariffs reduce to 10%" Mr Costello said.

The Commission will be required to evaluate key outcomes of the Government's Automotive Competitiveness and Investment Scheme. The Commission will also look at longer term impediments to the viability of the car industry and identify policy options that will assist the industry to achieve long term sustainability.

Philip Weickhardt, former Managing Director and CEO of Orica Ltd, has been appointed Associate Commissioner to the inquiry, which will be chaired by Gary Banks, Chairman of the Productivity Commission.

"I welcome the appointment of Mr Weickhardt as an Associate Commissioner to the inquiry," Mr Macfarlane said.

"The inquiry will benefit from his extensive business experience, gained as the CEO of a leading manufacturer and as a key figure in the Business Council of Australia."

The inquiry will proceed in parallel with work by the Automotive Council. The council is chaired by Mr Macfarlane and the Minister for Trade, Mr Mark Vaile and includes representatives of major carmakers and their suppliers. The council will report to the ministers on relevant issues concurrent with the inquiry.

The Productivity Commission will soon seek expressions of interest from parties wishing to participate in the inquiry. Mr Costello and Mr Macfarlane encouraged all interested persons to make submissions.

People who want to register their interest in the inquiry or obtain a copy of the terms of reference will find details on the Productivity Commission website at: or by applying directly to the Productivity Commission on 02 6240 3214.

CANBERRA 21 March 2002

Contact: Niki Savva, Mr Costello's office, 02 6277 7340 Kirsty Boazman, Mr Macfarlane's office, 02 6277 7580 Garry Wall, Industry, Tourism and Resources, 02 6213 7540

© Commonwealth of Australia 2000