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Partial transcript of local news conference, Margaretta Wilson Centre, Collie, WA

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JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, on unemployment, it's very bad in rural areas, it's also very bad in Australia, ... Can you see any solution ...

PM: Well remember this; that even with the loss of jobs there's been in the last 12 months the average rate of employment growth for the whole of my period in Government has been 177,000 new jobs a year. So don't just talk about the problem at the moment which is, as I've said, something we had to do. We had to slow the economy down. There's a very simple statistic which you must have in your mind. , . There two years or so ago, what we were doing in this country was increasing our spending as individuals and government, as a whole nation, we were increasing our

spending twice as fast as we were increasing our production. We were making up the gap by borrowing from abroad and importing. So I had to slow the economy down. Because if you kept doing that the world would've imposed upon us a

resolution of that which would've been far more drastic than what w e ' re going through now and would' ve been much more long lasting. Now in the result of slowing things down we

have now got a low inflation, competitive economy which is, as I said out there, showing that it can take on and beat the rest of the world. We've had a 57% increase in the

exports of manufactured goods in the last two years. We're taking on the best in the world and beating them. We're doing it now from a low inflation base and that 177,000 jobs a year which is faster than the rest of the world's rate of job creation, we've shown that we can do it and we will do

it, we'll go back into it. We're coming out of the recession now. The statistics in the last 24 hours show in regard to housing approvals that we are very significantly recovering there and very interestingly in the skilled vacancy statistics that have come out of the Department of

Education, Employment and Training we are showing a significant growth now for the first time in the last couple of years. So the evidence is there that we're coming out of the recession and next year that will be reflected in employment. We've done it, we've been there and we had to go through a difficult period now but it had to be done otherwise the world would've imposed the worst resolution on us.



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JOURNALIST: ... the Australian delegation to Europe at the moment ... First off, what ... Australian delegation were successful and second off, the Uruguay talks ... result in ... tariff ...

PM: Well taking the first question first, just by itself, of course, our bipartisan delegation won't be able to be successful but it will be an important part of the process, I believe, of bringing influence to bear upon the Europeans. What you've got to remember is that we're not going there pleading with them in terms of simply saying we are getting

a rough deal. We are essentially appealing to their self interest because the fact is that the people of Europe are themselves suffering very, very significantly from the

operation of the CAP - the Common Agricultural Program. It increases their total cost and price structure. They are paying well over a $100B a year in terms of production and export subsidies and that means, as I say, that their cost and price structure is very much higher than otherwise

should be. They've got more unemployment than they otherwise should have because of this increased cost and price structure. It's a totally inefficient way of helping the people most in need that what happens is that the top

20% of the most well-to-do farmers get 80% of the subsidy. So if you really, if they really are concerned about trying to help low income farmers, they should do it by direct benefit payments and not related to production. Because in

doing it that way, the whole cost and price structure of the whole community goes up and you don't help those most in need. So what we're really trying to do through this

bipartisan delegation is to tell them these facts, that they are acting against their own interests. There is evidence that this argument is starting to have an impact in Europe. So what we're about with this bipartisan delegation is to add to that impetus of argument. So by itself they won't

do, they will be a part of bringing about change I hope. Now in regard to the wider group, of course they are there as part of the argument about the Uruguay Round. The simple fact is that if we don't get a result on agriculture we

won't get any results in the Uruguay Round because the fair trading countries have simply said if you don't give us a result of agriculture you get nothing.