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Thursday, 4 May 1961

Mr BANDIDT - Money has been borrowed in the past also, and members of the Opposition have stressed that we are borrowing ?200,000,000 a year overseas. That applied to our overseas balances last year just as it applies this year. In fact, the money that is coming from overseas and will continue to come in, is a constant when you compare the position with what it was twelve months or two years ago. So the first thing to take into account is that the Government is achieving what it set out to achieve regarding our overseas balances and the Treasurer is confident, it appears, that our position will be better at the end of June than it was at the end of December. But a further important aspect of the credit position that has been brought out is the improvement in our internal national position. The figures produced only recently in the White Paper indicated that the Government will achieve a much better credit in its national balances this year than it did last year.

So on two counts, the Government has done very well indeed. But that does not get away from the fact that you cannot afford to apply the pressure too hard to a sick person. Queensland is in that unfortunate position, and it is reflected in the unemployment figures there. We know that

Queensland is a State where there is seasonal unemployment, and therefore it is to be expected that at certain times during the year, the unemployment figures will be greater in Queensland than they are in other States. The tendency appears to be in Queensland now that the unemployment figures are relatively greater than they were last year or two years ago. That is the point I am concerned about.

We have heard from the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) about the timber industry in Tasmania. My electorate is an important timber-producing area and my inquiries have revealed that there is considerable difficulty in the timber industry in the Wide Bay district. What can be done to correct this situation, particularly in Queensland? I suggest that the Government should expand credit. It should release more credit than it is releasing now. I will concede that if you overdo the expansion of credit, you merely fan inflation, but I think there is a happy medium between overdoing it and underdoing it. I suggest that more credit should be released for Queensland and particularly for housing and primary industry. There is one point to remember in connexion with housing. You cannot plan and build houses quickly. It all takes time.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member's time has expired.

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