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Wednesday, 17 November 1976
Page: 2761

Mr MOORE (RYAN, QUEENSLAND) - I address my question to the Minister for Construction. Recent newspaper reports would suggest that there has been no indication of recovery in the building industry. Can the Minister say whether recent statistics bear out this gloomy prediction?

Mr McLEAY (BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) - I have seen a number of Press reports in recent weeks and I can only assume that there must be a prize to be awarded to some journalists in some newspapers for finding the most gloomy heading. The Australian Financial Review only last week carried the heading: 'No joy for building industry in ANZ survey'. The same newspaper ran a similar heading the previous week. That heading was 'Grim construction outlook'. Those 2 headings are absolutely false. In fact there is a continuing improvement in the construction industry right around Australia. Perhaps I could quote some figures just to prove that. The articles written under the headings to which I have just referred contained statements such as 'There was no sign of improvement in commercial and industrial building'. The journalists concerned should read the figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. If we refer to just a couple of sets of figures, particularly in respect of work that has commenced, the work that has been done, the work that is under construction and so on, we find that there is a continuing uplift in all areas. Admittedly the figures go only from January to June, but they are improving consistently. The figures show that the value of work commenced to June this year is up by 17 per cent on that for the same time last year. The value of work under construction is up by 6 per cent, the value of work done is up by 7 per cent and the value of work to be done is up by 7 per cent.

Mr Morris - Why do you not incorporate those figures too?

Mr McLEAY - I was hoping that somebody would invite me to do so.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Is the Minister asking for the table to be incorporated in Hansard*.

Mr McLEAY - Yes, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

The document read as follows-


Mr McLEAY - I would like to continue by citing some other figures. Another important figure that I mention is that the value of work to be done from 30 June onwards totals nearly $ 1,000m. This is the equivalent of 10 months' work and is the highest figure for the last 2 years. The number of approvals- these would indicate an intent by someone to commence work- in the non-residential area in September this year was up 44 per cent over August. Total approvals in September were up 3 per cent on last year's peak. The cost of building materials- I think this is relevant too- both in the housing and the nonhousing sector has shown the lowest increase in 4 years since November 1972. More importantly, the private sector is now shown to be dominant over the public sector in commencements, work done and approvals. I think it is reasonable to claim that our economic policies are working and that in fact we are getting on top of inflation. I am pleased that some of the figures have been incorporated in Hansard.

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