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Farmers can't live with record interest rates



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RALPH HUNT

DEPUTY LEADER NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA

f a r m e r s c a n 't l i v e w i t h r e c o r d i nt eres t rates

MEDIA

138/85

There was no way that debt-ridden farmers could continue to live with accelerating interest rates for an extended period, Shadow Primary Industry Minister, Mr Hunt, said today.

He said the farmers of Australia would not be comforted by the Prime Minister's statement that "higher interest rates will have to be lived with for a time". .

"The- demand for farm finance has increased despite the breaking of the drought, and farm debt now exceeds $6 billion," Mr Hunt said..

"Some bank loan rates to farmers could reach 25pc by mid-1986 if the Hawke Government maintains its strategy of keeping interest rates high to attract short-term foreign capital, to prop up the $A."

Mr Hunt said interest repayments were now one of the heaviest costs for grain, sugar and dairy producers in particular and farmers in general.

Small businesses in country areas, already heavily in debt, were also suffering from the farm downturn.

"The Government could help get the economy right by encouraging our wealth-producing export industries to go their hardest rather than holding them back with crippling interest rates. ’ . - ' . . )

"There is no way the Hawke Government can continue with full wage indexation under the Accord against the background of heavy Balance of Payments deficiencies, and expect the dollar to strengthen.

"It is just not good enough for this Government to go along propping up the dollar with record high interest rates.and telling us all that we will have to get used to it," Mr Hunt said.

CANBERRA 19 November 1985

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