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Wednesday, 17 November 1976

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.

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