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Business programs

Industry Commission submission

This submission was released on 11 March 1997. The Review of Commonwealth business programs was established to examine the efficiency and effectiveness of these programs in order to recommend principles that should apply to business programs.

And to assess whether current programs are consistent with these principles, achieve their intended objectives and contribute to the Government’s policy objectives, and recommend changes, if required, including the expansion, termination, phasing down or redesign of programs, and the transfer of programs between portfolios.

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  • Media release
  • Contents

Soundly-based and well implemented business programs are an important part of Australia's industry policy. Such programs help to facilitate economic growth and higher living standards, according to Mr Bill Scales, Chairman of the Industry Commission.

Mr Scales was speaking on the release of the Commission's submission to the review of Commonwealth business programs. These programs provide support worth more than $3 billion a year to Australian industry. The Commission has argued in its submission that some programs have assisted economic growth and increased community welfare. But the justification for, and effectiveness of, a number of programs is questionable. 'By assessing which programs are effective, which need to change to more effectively meet their objectives, and which should be terminated, the Review can make a positive contribution to industry policy. Indeed, one significant and worthwhile outcome of the Review would be a plan for rationalising the current plethora of programs.'

Mr Scales also stressed that business programs are only one component of an effective industry policy. 'Sound macroeconomic management and broad-ranging microeconomic reform are crucial to efficient industry development and the higher living standards this will support.'

The Commission's submission sets out a range of requirements that business programs should meet, including that they:

  • Promote the interests of the community rather than just particular firms or sectors.
  • Are the best way of addressing significant market failures or policy impediments.
  • Are well targeted and maintain incentives for firms to operate efficiently.
  • Provide transparent assistance, and embody requirements for effective monitoring, public reporting and periodic review by independent agencies.
  • Avoid unnecessary compliance costs.

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1 Introduction
1.1 What is the Review about?
1.2 Why is the Commission making a submission?
1.3 Approach taken in the submission

2 Snapshot of Business Programs
2.1 Changing industry orientation
2.2 Commonwealth industry support
2.3 State, Territory and local government support for industry

3 The Role of business Programs
3.2 Constraints on governments seeking to improve on market outcomes
3.3 Implications for this Review

4 Efficient Program Delivery
4.1 Characteristics of good program design
4.2 Supporting institutional and administrative arrangements

5 The Wider Role of Governments
5.1 How will broad-based microeconomic reform benefit industry?

Appendix A Export assistance


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