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Rural Australia to benefit from ALP's economic strategy



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P A R L l A M b N T O F A U S T R A L I A

H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

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MEDIA RELEASE FROM PAUL KEATING, SHADOW TRASURER

RURAL AUSTRALIA TO BENEFIT FROM ALP'S ECONOMIC STRATEGY

The Australian Labor Party recognises that what matters most to Australia's farmers and fishermen over the longer term is the capacity of government to manage the economy.

Farmers and fishermen need lower inflation, a predictable exchange rate and industrial harmony.

Over the seven years of Fraser government, farmers and fisher­ men have seen inflation in Australia go up, while inflation in their markets and among their competitors has declined. Erratic exchange rate movements have resulted in substantial

losses. Industrial disruption caused by Fraser's confronta- tionist approach to labour relations has cost farmers and fishermen millions. Mr Fraser's burgeoning depression deficit has kept interest rates high. Record levels of unemployment mean that farmers and fishermen supplying the domestic market have faced weak demand.

The Australian Labor Party's economic policy offers farmers and fishermen the chance to regain lost competitiveness.

Labor's comprehensive prices and incomes policy, worked out with unions and industry groups, will reduce inflation and bring industrial peace.

The Australian Labor Party's strategy is to promote growth. Labor's proposed addition to the deficit of $1,500m is modest and responsible in the current depressed economic conditions.

Mr Fraser has in recent weeks made spending commitments totalling over $6,000m and is hardly in a position to criticise Labor for being too expansionary.

The Australian Labor Party promises to turn the economy around. Labor policies will stimulate, revive and strengthen rural Australia.

Of immediate benefit to rural Australia will be Labor's policy to cancel Mr Fraser's last fuel price increase, and to eliminate sales tax on freight.

The Australian Labor Party recognises that primary industries are an integral part of the Australian economy.

A Labor Government will act immediately to improve credit facilities for farmers as they come out of the drought, to substantially boost funding for the Rural Adjustment Scheme and to begin the massive job of reclaiming our soils and provide a strong resource base for on-going prosperous primary

industries in Australia.

Canberra - 21 February 1983