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Friday, 3 April 1987
Page: 1825

Senator WALTERS —My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister representing the Minister Assisting the Treasurer on Prices. Is it a fact that the amount paid out by home buyers has risen from 18.3 per cent of family income at the time of the last election to 26.7 per cent now? Is it also a fact that in the same period monthly repayments on a $50,000 loan over 25 years have risen from $508 to $660, an increase of more than $35 a week? Is it a fact that there are now 157,607 people on public housing waiting lists, an increase of almost one-third since the Hawke Government came to office? What excuse does the Minister give for home ownership becoming so much less affordable under the Labor Government?

Senator BUTTON —I do not offer any excuse. The conditions of the Australian economy at present have created difficulties for all sections of the community. Until we can improve our national income those difficulties will continue to be felt in one way or another in certain parts of the community. The important thing for the Government is to try to alleviate the areas of greatest disability and those who suffer most from the circumstances of our incapacity to sell commodities overseas at the same prices as we did in the past. I ask the honourable senator to put the earlier part of the question on notice because it is a detailed question with five parts.