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Wednesday, 10 May 1961

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member for Kingsford-Smith will remain silent.

Mr McMAHON - The figures are much less than those mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition. The difficulties both in Port Kembla and Newcastle are due to a temporary falling off in the commencement of house construction. I believe that they are also due to a temporary falling off in the number of motor cars purchased. It is hoped that these are temporary problems.

In addition, there are some difficulties due to the fact that the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited can now supply all steel on demand. Therefore, merchants and manufacturers are working off some of their steel stocks prior to coming into the market and buying steel again. It is not expected that there will be any falling off in primary steel production by theBroken Hill Proprietary Company Limited. I believe, from information in my own department, that full schedules for some months to come can be foreseen. I think that that puts the matter in perspective. As to the question of what is being done, naturally I was not aware, up to the moment of the actual retrenchments, just how many retrenchments there would be, but the Commonwealth Employment Service is always active in seeing that people are placed in employment as quickly as possible. It will continue its efforts in this case.

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