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The Productivity Commission is required under its Act to report annually on industry assistance and its effects on the economy. This report contains the Commission’s latest quantitative estimates of Australian Government assistance to industry.
This year’s review also explores how recent developments such as the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, assistance responses to Arrium going into receivership and other events in the Upper Spencer Gulf, government proposals for investment in electricity generation and storage, and a ‘back to the future’ reregulation of Queensland sugar marketing, could confer industry assistance in the future.
Views inevitably differ on what constitutes industry assistance and whether it is warranted. Fundamental to these questions is transparency of measures. The annual review seeks to identify government arrangements that may be construed as assistance, as well as their target, size, and nature. This information provides a basis for considered assessment of the benefits and costs of the arrangements.
The report also summarises recent developments in trade policy. It provides a brief glimpse of modelling results from a recent Commission report on the affect protection could have on Australia, and how it should respond. It also argues the case, yet again, for Australia to remove its remaining tariffs, drawing on a recent research report on rules of origin.
In preparing this report, the Commission has received helpful advice and feedback from officials in Australian Government agencies. The Commission is very grateful for their assistance.