(Greens-Media) Greens say Labor fails to address major FTA concerns

Submitted by Editor on Fri, 06/08/2004 - 00:02

Mark Latham's amendment to the FTA legislation fails to fix the major concern of an appeal process opening up PBS price reviews by US drug companies, Greens Senator Bob Brown said today.

Willis, Katrina (Sen B. Brown)


Wednesday, 4 August 2004

"Nor does Labor's amendment on broadcasting guarantee local content on new media," Senator Brown said.

"Labor has failed to address a raft of critical issues including:

* Higher cost to libraries and researchers of extending Australia's copyright laws to match the US, contrary to earlier recommendations;

* The absence of sugar from the FTA, the long lead in time for lower tariffs for Australian dairy and beef farmers, restrictions in access to US markets for avocado, citrus, stone fruit and pork;

* The threat to as many as 50,000 Australian manufacturing jobs;

* The increase in the threshold that triggers Foreign Investment Review Board examination of takeover or investment proposals;

* The review mechanism of the PBS with its commitment to allow the right to price reviews. The provision to allow direct marketing to doctors and consumers via the Internet. (Labor's amendment does not touch these major concerns.)

* The constraints on government, increasing Australian cultural content in future (including digital) broadcasting and uncertainty about the ABC, SBS, and the Australian Film Commission (Labor's amendment does not cover these major concerns.)

* The inclusion of an expropriation and compensation clause that will hamper governments protecting the environment."

The Greens have moved to defer Senate debate on the FTA until the government orders a public review and environmental impact statement.

More information: Katrina Willis 02 6277 3170 or 0419 704 095

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