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Thursday, 9 December 2004
Page: 105

Senator STEPHENS (New South Wales) (3.43 p.m.)—by leave—I move:

That the following matters be referred to the Economics References Committee for inquiry and report by the first sitting day in September 2005:

Possible links between household debt, demand for imported goods and Australia's current account deficit, with particular reference to:

(a) current levels of household debt and whether these are historically high (as a proportion of household income or otherwise);

(b) factors, including the lending policies of banks and other financial institutions, that contribute to household debt levels;

(c) the extent to which demand for imported goods contributes to household debt levels;

(d) the extent to which demand for imported goods by Australian households contributes to the current account deficit;

(e) risks for households and the economy of high household debt levels;

(f) whether there is a case for addressing the lending policies of banks and other credit providers and if so, what practical options are available;

(g) whether there are other measures that might be taken in place of possible restrictions on lending practices which would be as effective;

(h) whether any Commonwealth social and economic policy settings should be changed as a result of matters identified above;

(i) whether there is a need for any other form of regulatory intervention in relation to this issue; and

(j) any related matters.

Question agreed to.