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Wednesday, 24 November 1965

Mr McMAHON (LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Labour and National Service) - The Department of Labour and National Service is constantly examining the problems of the impact of automation on the work force. I think it is known that it is our present view - and this is supported by the trade unions - that at the moment and for the immediate years ahead we should not fear the effects of automation. We are committed to a very high growth rate, with a large increase in population due to a considerable extent to immigration. Against this background it is our feeling within the Government that we have the means of expanding demand and, consequently, the means of keeping our employment high - at a full employment level. Therefore we do not think that automation will have the dire effects predicted in the report the honorable member has mentioned. Nonetheless, my Department has a section that deals specifically with automation and if we do see problems arising they will be immediately brought to the attention of the Government. I direct attention to the most recent survey we are making concerning the printing industry. We have found that where there has been large scale introduction of automation it has led to an increase rather than a reduction in the number employed.

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