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Wednesday, 24 November 1965

Mr HAROLD HOLT - What the honorable gentleman has said reflects the statistical returns. There is nothing inconsistent in what has been said on this matter by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Housing. The decision as to the effect that the Government can achieve through economic policies lies in the hands of the Cabinet. The Minister for Housing is called into Cabinet discussions on matters which relate to his administration. The Prime Minister said that demand in this field continues to be strong. At least, that was the effect of his statement as I read it.

This is consistent with my understanding of the position. There is still a strong demand for housing and for finance for housing. The Reserve Bank had come to an understanding with the savings banks that finance for housing would be sustained at a high level. I think that this has been done although finance, overall, for housing has shown some reduction. On the other hand, you get a situation in the economy where construction activities are being sustained at a very high level because of the extraordinary extent of construction for non-residential purposes. The latest figures - I am drawing on my recent recollection now - show that for the three months ended October the value of approvals was 34 per cent, higher than in the corresponding period last year.

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