Peter Costello

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Future of the Textiles, Clothing and Footwear Industries



The Treasurer, the Hon Peter Costello MP, and Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, today announced the Productivity Commission had been asked to undertake an inquiry into post-2005 assistance arrangements for the Textiles, Clothing and Footwear industries.

The announcement delivers on an election commitment by the Government for the establishment of an inquiry to allow post-2005 assistance arrangements to be determined well before the expiry of the current TCF assistance package.

"The inquiry will enable the Government to identify options for the future of the TCF industries, and make decisions to help the sector reach its full potential," Mr Macfarlane said.

Mr Costello said although the current TCF industry support program does not end until mid- 2005, it is important that Government and the sector plan ahead so investment decisions can be made with some certainty and a clear understanding of policy settings.

"We appreciate the interest within industry about future assistance arrangements and have asked the Productivity Commission to examine a wide range of factors which impact on the TCF sector's competitiveness," Mr Costello said.

"We retain our commitment towards lowering Textiles, Clothing and Footwear tariffs in 2005, as well as our commitments and obligations under APEC and the World Trade Organisation."

During the inquiry, the Productivity Commission will identify policy options consistent with Australia's trade obligations that would encourage the sector to adjust to a viable and sustainable competitive position. Each policy option will be assessed for its impact on TCF industries, workforce, regional Australia, consumers and economy.

Mr Costello also announced today the appointment of Mr Philip Weickhardt as an Associate Commissioner to the inquiry.

"As the former head of Orica, Mr Weickhardt brings an extensive understanding of Australian business, and the manufacturing sector in particular, to the position."

Mr Macfarlane said the Productivity Commission will soon seek expressions of interest from parties wishing to participate in the inquiry.

"I urge all interested parties to take part and make submissions," he said.

To register interest in the inquiry or find out more, details are available from Productivity Commission at or phone 02 6240 3239. Terms of reference for the inquiry are available from the Productivity Commission website.

The Productivity Commission will report its findings and suggested options by 31 July 2003.

19 November 2002

Contact: David Alexander
Treasurer's office
02 6277 7340

Ken Pettifer
Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources
02 6213 7500


19 Nov 2002

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