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Tuesday, 22 November 1960


Mr HAROLD HOLT - At this point, no one can give a precise answer to this question, because the matter depends on various factors operating in the economy. The justification for the action which the Government has taken is to be found in various circumstances, including the pressure of imports made by this industry - imports which, I pointed out earlier, are running now at the rate of £200,000,000 a year compared with £152,000,000 a year in the September quarter of the preceding year. This has occurred at a time when steel has been in short supply and when our export income would ordinarily have increased as a result of exports of steel which is now being used in great quantities by the motor industry. This has occurred at a time also of serious labour shortages in some States, in particular New South Wales and Victoria. If we find ourselves in a situation in which the pressures have eased and the imports situation seems to be more healthy from our point of view, there will be occasion to review our policy in relation to this industry. But other circumstances may be operating at such a time, and the Government could not hold itself bound to give any undertaking now. I did make a broad statement that when the situation of the industry and that of the economy as a whole, looked at together, appeared to warrant a review, it would be made.







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