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From Industry Assistance to Productivity: 30 Years of 'The Commission'

This booklet was released on 11 December 2003 - the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Industries Assistance Commission

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  • Contents

Cover, Copyright, Foreword, Acknowledgments, Contents, Abbreviations


1   Introduction
A widening remit
A strong analytical tradition
Independent Commissioners and skilled staff
A quick guide

2   Deep roots: the Tariff Board
The Tariff Board’s traditional approach
A need for change
Political resistance to an ‘economic and efficient’ approach
The Whitlam Government and the Crawford Report
Birth of the IAC

3   The Industries Assistance Commission: the 1970s
Role and functions of the new Commission
Rise (and fall) of resourcing
Changing portfolios
The IAC’s approach
Coverage and focus of inquiries
Economic downturn and policy reversal
A change of government
The ‘adjustment problem’
New reporting rules
An uneven balance sheet

4   The Industries Assistance Commission: the 1980s
Reporting in a recession
Enter the Hawke Government
The Uhrig Review
Towards broader reforms
A shift to the Treasury portfolio and ‘industry plans’
General tariff cuts again
The push for ‘microeconomic reform’
Changing international trade relations
More restructuring

5   The Industry Commission
The first merger
Directions for change
A second round of tariff cuts
Reforms to reduce business costs
Social and environmental issues

6   Forming the Productivity Commission
The Coalition’s plans for a Productivity Commission
The administrative merger
Business as usual
A rough passage through Parliament

7   The Productivity Commission
Building on strong foundations
A new work program
A 'flexible' institution
An ongoing role


A   Legislation and regulation

B   Chairmen, Commissioners and senior staff

C   Portfolio responsibility

D   Inquiry reports

E   History of assistance to two sectors: the textiles, clothing and footwear, and automotive industries