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Tuesday, 16 November 1976

Mr LYNCH - I am glad that the honourable gentleman remembers some facets of the disaster that he and his colleagues perpetrated in this country during their period in office. I remember that macabre list of disasters very well indeed. The Government has in fact learned from the lesson of the more recent past which, apart from the advice which comes to us from overseas, has been taken into account in implementing the economic policies which have been the subject of many detailed statements in this House.

According to provisional estimates the value of retail sales in seasonally adjusted current price terms fell by 0.3 per cent in September, following rises of 0.8 per cent in August and 0.6 per cent in July. Over the 12 months to September the value of retail sales increased by an estimated 13.6 per cent. The Statistician, in issuing those figures, has given his usual warning that care needs to be taken not to over-emphasise the significance of changes in the provisional estimates of retail sales between single months. The rate of increase in retail sales for the September quarter is estimated at around 2.7 per cent. That reflects some moderate real growth when assessed against the 2.2 per cent increase that took place in the consumer price index during the September quarter.

I indicate to the honourable gentleman that I am well aware that this is not an area in which sales are buoyant. But if the honourable gentleman takes notice of the statement made, I think, yesterday and reported in at least the Sydney afternoon Press by one of the organisational men from the retailers' association, he will see that the association is looking forward to a marked increase in sales during the Christmas period.

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