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Thursday, 29 October 1959

Mr HAROLD HOLT - I do not know by what process of reasoning anybody could come to the conclusion that has been indicated by the honorable gentleman. As he is aware, the proposals which were put forward by the Commonwealth to the State Premiers at the last Australian Loan Council meeting and Premiers' Conference, and the final form in which they were adopted unanimously by all present, provided increased payments for all the States, including Western Australia. Those proposals provided a formula under which the States would enjoy the operation of what has become known as a betterment factor as year followed year and, at the same time, left to Western Australia and Tasmania the right of recourse to the Commonwealth Grants Commission. Incidentally, Western Australia had the advantage of this avenue previously. In the aggregate, I think, the amount provided for Western Australia in the present financial year was increased by something of the order of £2,000,000. Certainly, at the time of the Premiers' Conference the representatives of Western Australia did not give the impression that their State had come out of the discussions other than favorably. It is my own belief that the proposals were certainly to the benefit of Western Australia and, I believe, to the benefit of all States, and in the best interests of the Commonwealth as well.

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