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Thursday, 22 November 1973
Page: 3778

Mr SPEAKER -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -





Mr KERIN - I thank the House. This table is of fundamental significance with respect to the incomes referendum. I make no further comment, other than to say that the average increase in profit as shown in this table is about 21 per cent. I will not read the sectors. The table does not contain a complete set of figures. Many qualifications could be made, but the figures accurately present business conditions and the trends therein, and they accurately present the way in which shareholders are benefiting at present. The average increase in profit in the 6 major public rural companies is now 97.9 per cent. We could add the other rural companies in the same criteria. For instance, the profit of Australian Fertilisers Ltd rose by 97.8 per cent. We could also add the other figures for banking and finance. The profit of the National Bank of Australasia Ltd rose by S3 per cent, the profit of the Bank of Adelaide by 37 per cent, the profit of the Bank of New South Wales by 52 per cent and the profit of United Dominions Corporation (Australia) Ltd by 62.4 per cent. I would also like to turn to the rural sector in terms of the debt situation. I have extracted these figures from the Reserve Bank's bulletin of October 1973. It shows the movements in deposits and advances for the rural sector. In 1970-71 rural deposits were minus $27m and rural advances were minus $4m.

In 1970-71, rural deposits were $64m and advances were minus $31m. In 1972-73, rural deposits were $2 15m and advances were $88m.

The rural debt situation which I have pointed to is an indication of confidence by farmers in the immediate future. Between 1960 and 1970, gross rural debt to major institutional sources of farm credit rose from $974m to $2,082m. However this rapid increase in debt was not sustained in 1970-71 and 1971-72. During these years of relatively low farm incomes rural debt rose only slightly to $2,098m in June 1972.

Complete information on changes in rural debt during 1972-73 is not yet available. It appears, however, that the increase in farm income has tended to restore confidence in the future of rural industry and consequently, farmers have generally been more willing to borrow and lending institutions have generally been more willing to lend to farmers. In the 12 months to July 1973, new lending to the rural sector from the major trading banks amounted to $636m compared with only $284m in the corresponding period to July 1972.

It appears that the increase in farm income has also resulted in higher levels of repayment of existing debts. Despite the increased rate of new lending, trading bank advances outstanding to rural industry declined between, January 1972 and January 1973 from $934m to $9 19m. Some other components of rural debt, including loans outstanding from pastoral finance companies and assurance societies were also lower in the early months of 1973 than in the corresponding months of 1972. The improved financial situation in the rural industries has also been reflected in farmers' deposits with major trading banks. These deposits increased from $8 14m in January 1972 to $l,001m in January 1973. This is the first year since 1968 that farmers' deposits with the major trading banks have exceeded their debts to these institutions. The reason that I have been so keen to incorporate so many figures into the Hansard record is that I wish to put something on the record to rebut completely the arguments that some of the Country Party candidates used for last Saturday's New South Wales State election.

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