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The bush faces depopulation similar to 1930s depression



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rBRliCK LLOYD 4 Media]DEPUTY LEADER, ΝΑΊ 10NAL PARTY OK AUSTRALIA SHADOW M INISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRYTHE BUSH FACES DEPOPULATION SIMILAR TO 1930s DEPRESSIONThe unemployment situation is much worse than the Government figures show, particularly in country areas, and will continue to deteriorate according to National Party Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Primary Industry, Bruce Lloyd.Mr Lloyd said Australia was potentially facing the greatest depopulation of "the bush" since the Great Depression of the 1930s as rural families were being forced from their farms and young people seeking work flocked to the city in the hope of finding jobs.He said young people outside metropolitan areas were facing unemployment rates much higher than cities.Mr Lloyd said his concern for the future was based on three facts:-1. The Government is continuing to understate real unemployment.2. Wool growers, because of supplementary payments, have not yet felt the full force of the lower wool prices. ABARE is forecasting average negative returns for wool growers in the next financial year.3. The effects of the drought over much of Australia, have not yet been felt and unless there are immediate good rains, incomes will be severely down. Predictions last week of wheat plantings dropping by 25 per cent is a result of the weather and the low wheat prices.Mr Lloyd said the Government was hiding the true facts on unemployment by not using figures of people who are actually registered."Today's official figures showed that 844,000 people were seeking full time work and the April increase was the largest monthly rise recorded by the ABS Survey."However this is far from the true picture because people who have worked for even an hour without pay in a week are excluded from the ABS figures."CBS figures obtained under Freedom of Information by the Melbourne Sunday Age show the number of people registered as unemployed in March, was over 1 million (1,054,102). These figures have not been published by the CBS since 1986."There is also those people who have not registered as unemployed because they know jobs are not available and they are not eligible for unemployment benefits because of a working spouse."Mr Lloyd said the Government's economic policies had caused the problems,■ I H — Μ Μ » , · r.n;··/,ViQNY/bAL. > ί I72 -----COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY L IB R A R Y k/iir.AHParliament House, Canberra, A.C.T., 2(j00 For further information phone 062 774193

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"The high interest rates over such a long period have resulted in a higher dollar value and this in turn has made life very difficult for industries which must export or compete against imports.

"During the last few years we have seen imports of food increase dramatically because while our farmers are efficient the cost of their inputs, tax, and other charges such as transport combined with high labor costs have meant that many food processors in Australia

just cannot compete with imports from other countries.

"Last financial year Australia imported $2 billion worth of food. This has led to the closure or the slow-down of many Australian food processing plants.

"As most of these factories were in country areas, this has increased the number of unemployed.

"As farmers stop buying, regional businesses such as agents for farm machinery, fertiliser, chemicals and cars are closing their door and bankruptcies are skyrocketing.

"This in turn leads to the withdrawal of teachers, police and other public servants. This then forces other people to move away to areas where services are provided."

Mr Lloyd said until Australians can negotiate private enterprise agreements and remove costly work practices, unemployment will continue to rise.

He said the Government's refusal to guarantee resource security for the timber, paper and pulp industries has prevented the most significant investment and real job creation possible in regional Australia, and has therefore added to the number of people out of work in rural areas, and had insured that Australia continued to

import pulp and paper.

"This country needs a change of economic policies, a change of attitude and above all a change of Government," Mr Lloyd said.

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