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Thursday, 8 December 1960

Mr POLLARD (Lalor) .- I listened to the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Bandidt) offer some criticism of what was said this morning about the financing of primary producers by pastoral companies. It is quite true that pastoral companies make finance available to primary producers, particularly in regard to the purchase of live-stock on bill, and the interest rate as a rule has some relation to the interest rate which the pastoral companies in many cases pay the banks for their accommodation - and in many instances the banks are part and parcel of the pastoral companies, through interconnected shareholdings.

It is true, as the honorable member for Mitchell (Mr. Wheeler) said, that pastoral companies often provide finance for all sorts of equipment required on farms. I have not the slightest doubt that if a farmer required a refrigerator or some such amenity for his home, quite a number of the pastoral companies would supply it through their merchandising house and that the farmer, if he was financially strong enough and was prepared to continue to finance his live-stock operations through the pastoral company, would get the benefit of the lower interest rate applying to farm equipment. One member of the Australian Country Party has waved his hand at me as if this had something to do with having a drink. Perhaps he meant to convey by his gesture that such business could be more satisfactorily arranged over a drink. But if a man was not a good financial risk, I have not the slightest doubt that some pastoral companies would refer him to a hirepurchase organization, which would require him to pay an interest rate equivalent to the interest rate normally charged by all other financial institutions engaged in hire purchase to-day.

Perhaps the best illustration of that fact is the case mentioned recently by the honorable member for Calare (Mr. England), who said that because of the Government's credit control policy a corporation known as the Industrial Acceptance Corporation, I think, had vacated the field of financing the purchase of farm machinery in his electorate. The plain fact is that apparently in that area anyhow - and it is a prosperous area - if the honorable member for Calare is correct the pastoral companies were not extensively engaged in financing the purchase of farm machinery. A lot of them keep shy of it. So this Industrial Acceptance Corporation has been operating there, and of course its hire-purchase rates would have some relation to the 4t per cent, flat rate which the Commonwealth Bank charges on hire purchase of machinery. In all probability, if a farmer in that area who normally did his stock financing through a pastoral company asked a pastoral company for £400 or £600 towards the purchase of a tractor the company would agree, because it might be financing him in relation to the purchase of 2,000 sheep or so. But when it came to the purchase of a new hay-baler or harvester the pastoral company might tell the farmer that he had better go to the Industrial Acceptance Corporation or the Commonwealth Bank - which I believe provides hire-purchase finance for farm machinery at a flat interest rate of 4± per cent. Tt is quite obvious that if what the honorable member for Calare said is correct there is no doubt that the pastoral companies are not themselves engaging very much in financing the purchase of farm machinery.

Mr Bandidt - Is that why you want to cut them out of the benefit under this bill?

Mr POLLARD - No. On the other hand, the honorable member for Wide Bay is not going to tell me that organizations like these are the same as other organizations. As a matter of fact, the primary producers would be better served by the Commonwealth Bank. However, there is a lot of talk about the financial provision made by the Development Bank, but it is not all that it is cracked up to be by this Government, or there would not be any room for financing by pastoral companies or this Industrial Acceptance Corporation.

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