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Friday, 5 June 1970

Mr BURY (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - I regret that I was unable to catch more than the general gist of the honourable member's question but I would attribute any decline in building commencements far less to changes in interest rates than to the physical difficulty of obtaining money. There are a number of factors affecting the building industry both as regards dwelling construction and the non-residential sector. I am not aware of the position so much in Western Australia but over a large part of Australia at the moment the building industrty is seriously jeopardised and plagued by industrial troubles which are adding considerably to the permanent cost structure. Some of the most serious troubles, of course, are in New South Wales and Victoria where there has been a prolonged strike of builders labourers. This is having a serious effect and bringing parts of the industry to a halt. Even though this is mainly, but not entirely, in the non-residential sector, its effects are certainly felt in the ordinary building sector. I do regret that members of the Australian Labor Party who are often very vocal in other respects seem to have an almost cynical disregard for this serious industrial trouble which is stimulated by others as well but in which a large part is being played by the followers of Peking Communism.

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