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Friday, 26 November 1965

Mr HAROLD HOLT - Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has pointed out to the House, we have conveyed to the Premiers of the drought affected States a general expression of the willingness of the Commonwealth Government to support financial action which the State Governments believe to be necessary in order to assist drought affected farmers to carry on their farming operations and to deal with difficulties they have experienced as a result of the drought. We have not attempted to lay down in any detail how this should be done. We believe that the State Governments are in a better position than is the Commonwealth Government to decide the needs of those affected inside the boundaries of their States and the use that can be made of the appropriate State instrumentalities for this purpose. I believe that the State rural banks are well suited to deal with requests which might come for special assistance. To the extent that the State Governments found it convenient to make finance available for this purpose through those instrumentalities, that would enjoy the support of the Commonwealth Government.

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