This research project reviews the National Industry Extension Service (NIES) which was set up in 1986 as a joint initiative of the Commonwealth and State and Territories governments to assist, initially, Australia's manufacturing industry to become internationally competitive. Using exploratory literature research as the project methodology, secondary data gathered from publicly available government reports, the public record and general literature, examines the general background to NIES preparatory to outlining why there was a need for manufacturing industry to become internationally competitive. The research demonstrates that the need for an industry extension service on a national basis was justified, and discusses the agricultural extension service models and overseas industry extension services which were examined before the unique Australian NIES model was developed. With the NIES model agreed upon, the project examines the mechanics of implementing NIES nationally and briefly describes the programs and services offered. An assessment of the amount of funding required to provide these programs and services is then made, before turning to examine what evaluations into the performance of this major service had been made over almost a decade of NIES' existence. The project also probes the public record in the pr~ss and media for comment on NIES.
The research project finds that one of the major objectives in setting up NIBS, which was to minimise the duplication and overlap of extension programs, has only been partially met, but this result not with standing, the project concludes that NIES has initially had a major impact on the internationalisation of Australian manufacturing industry and to an increasing extent on traded goods and services. The future of NIES appears to be assured, but as the recent Burgess Report (1994) recommended, it will become an integral part of the delivery mechanism of the newly constituted AusIndustry.