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Wednesday, 1 December 1976

Mr LYNCH - I shall give the honourable member a brief answer. The fact is that the Press statement and the statement made yesterday made it perfectly clear that of course there will be an inflationary impact. I remind the honourable gentleman, whose memory of these matters is far too short, that when the Labor Government devalued in September 1974 it took no offsetting action to stop the inflationary impact of that devaluation at that time. I also remind the House that in that month the then Government had 4.8 months cover in reserves of $2,965.3m. Clearly, without offsetting action at that stage that devaluation was grossly inappropriate and grossly inflationary. This Government has made it perfectly clear that, recognising the inflationary consequences of a decision to devalue, inevitable as it was, there was a need for consequential action in firming and strengthening the 3 remaining arms of policy. I remind the honourable gentleman of the action I have foreshadowed as far as fiscal policy is concerned. I remind him also of the action which is proposed on the monetary front, as well as of the Government's position in forthcoming cases before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.

This Government has made it perfectly clear that it will do everything possible to offset the inflationary consequences of the decision- a decision which, at the same time, in the jurisdiction of the honourable gentlemen on the Opposition benches, will provide a very real lift to the mining sector. He must recall the number of mines which have closed recently and the lack of confidence which emanated there. This decision is of direct assistance to the mining industry; it will seek to restore the competitive position of Australian manufacturing industry; it will assist rural industry; and it will assist import competitive industries. I believe that the beneficial results have been completely overlooked by the honourable gentleman.

Mr Morris - Mr Speaker,under standing order 321, 1 require that the Treasurer table the document from which he was quoting during his reply.

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