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Tuesday, 16 July 1946

Mr CHIFLEY - It is true that the availability of dollars has been one. of the factors impeding the importation to Australia of sufficient motor spirit to permit the abolition of petrol rationing. I am not quite sure yet what will be the effect of the approval by Congress of the loan to Great Britain, but my general impression is that it will make the dollar position easier. We must bear in mind, of course, that a large proportion of available dollars will be expended upon capital equipment and consumer goods urgently required in the United Kingdom. Also, special provision has been made in regard to the winding up of the lend-lease agreement. I am not yet able to say whether the granting of the loan will make easier the importation of larger quantities of petrol, but I can assure the honorable member that action in tHs direction will be taken as soon. as possible. I may add that Australia has endeavoured not to make relatively greater demands upon the dollar pool for petrol than are being made by the United Kingdom itself. The Commonwealth Government considers that as the United Kingdom is denying itself certain imports of petrol because it is called upon to pay in dollars for supplies, Australia should not demand proportionately more dollars for the purchase of petrol than the United Kingdom does.

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