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Tuesday, 2 May 1961

Mr HAROLD HOLT - The honorable gentleman appears to me to be quite wilfully misrepresenting the attitude of the Government. In the first place, it has not been the intention of the Government to put small saw-mills out of business, nor has it been the intention of the Government to deny credit for housing purposes. Indeed, at the outset, I advised the Governor of the Reserve Bank, and he in turn issued a directive, that a social service such as housing was not to be regarded as one of the fields in which credit should be restricted at the present time. In addition to what the trading banks may be disposed to do, we as a government have taken action to assist the savings banks - the State savings banks as well as the Commonwealth Savings Bank - to increase their rate of lending over the present and future months.

As the House was earlier informed, the Government has quite recently had before it this whole question of housing and its relationship to the timber industry. It is quite obvious from factors inside the timber industry that there are aspects which are not directly related to the Government's recent credit policies and that the industry has a process of adjustment to go through. To the extent that we can assist by ensuring that an adequate level of home construction is maintained throughout the Commonwealth, our efforts will be directed to that end.

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