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Wednesday, 12 April 1961

Mr McIVOR (GELLIBRAND, VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Treasurer. I preface it 'by referring to a statement made 'by the right honorable gentleman to the effect that the drift in home-building activities must continue "until homebuilding operations have descended to a certa'in level before the Government will take any action to arrest that drift. 'Will the Treasurer tell me to what level homebuilding activities must descend before any action is taken to remedy the position that this Government has created -in .the .homebuilding industry? Will the Treasurer also say whether money will be made available for the many additional housing co-operative societies that the Premier of Victoria has said will be formed in that State in July? Will the forming of further co-operatives mean that less money will be .available for the housing .commissions of the various States?

Mr. -HAROLDHOLT. -The honorable gentleman has attributed some words to me which I am quite certain I have never used, il can also say that any words I have used could not possibly 'have been interpreted reasonably -in the way the honorable member suggests. What I have ;sa'id, in substance, is that the housing position should be considered, not 'in terms of levels of housing activity at the present 'time, but rather on the basis of the availability of resources and the -existing need for housing. "No spokesman for 'this Government has ever claimed that it was the responsibility or the 'purpose of the Government, as a government, to supply the housing needs of this country. What we are doing is making -a very substantial contribution, as a government, to the 'housing needs of the country. We are providing finance for the schemes 'that the States are implementing for State housing, and we are also providing finance for the war service homes scheme. In addition, we are providing *a certain amount of finance for housing through the :agency of 'various instrumentalities which 'come -under 'our general jurisdiction. A total amount of :the 'Of der of -£80.;0O0_,0Q0 & :year is, .by tone or more £>f -these .-means, being provided .by the 'Government for housing purposes.

I nave already indicated to the "House 'the action that 'has "been 'taken in certain directions .to assist 'in increasing housing activity at the present 'time. 'This action will, no doubt, be supplemented 'by the activities of private interests in the housing field, particularly as demand asserts itself, and the availability df 'finance increases, in one State or another.

I have not had brought "to my 'notice officially la statement -.which I have seen attributed ?to the Premier df 'Victoria, that a very considerable number of housing societies will come into existence between now and 1st July. 'I shall see what further information I can secure on 'this point, and shall see also what funds are likely to be available for -the purposes of these societies.

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