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Tuesday, 16 November 1976
Page: 2680

Mr COTTER (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -Has the Prime Minister seen an editorial in today's edition of the Sydney Morning Herald in which it is asserted that he told Parliament last week that the Government's economic package would not result in a rise in private interest rates? Is his assertion correct?

Mr MALCOLM FRASER - I think that there has been a number of reports which indicated that I told the Parliament last week that there would be no rise in interest rates. Unfortunately, my answer should have been read against the question that I was asked because the question referred quite specifically to interest rates in relation to primary producers. I had pointed out how inflation had fallen heavily on some sections of the community- sections unlike public servants and politicians and people who go to the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and to some extent have their wages indexed. I had pointed out that we would not be seeing additional costs put on such sections of the community. In my answer I also referred to exporters. I said that exporters and primary producers would not be subject to increased interest charges, whether they be small borrowers or larger borrowers within those categories. I also pointed out that this was a matter that the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia had agreed to significantly before any announcement about changes in interest rates were in fact made. So I hope that clarifies the matter. The statement was a limited one about a limited group of people who have suffered exceptionally as a result of the inflation of the last few years.

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