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Consumer Price Index - March Quarter



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STATEMENT BY THE RT. HON. B. M. SNEDDEN, Q.C., M.P, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION - MELBOURNE - 18/4/1973.

Consumer Price Index - March Quarter

' It is many years since there has been such an increase in the

March quarter of the Consumer Price Index. Much of the increase

is attributed to movements in meat prices. Mutton and lamb prices

have made the highest single impact. This is due partly to supply.

High wool prices and restocking following droughts have lead to

a cut down, and slaughtering and export demand has been a -significant - ;■ ■ i

factor with beef as well as lamb. Λ \ > / >'

In the meat industry there have also been continuing pressures '■ · : ‘ f

on costs because of increasing labour costs,./both in growing and " ■ > ^ i

processing, and these pressures also affect prices. ? ■ s . / ' / ■ ■ J /

The component of the Consumer Price Index of all groups, ■ · ' - ■ / · ' ■

excluding food, is too high for a March quarter. There were

increases in all other groups of the index. While tiere are special

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factors surrounding meat prices, these quarterly statistics indicate

that there are still underlying inflationary pressures which are

frightening in their implication. It is particularly serious because

the full effect actioned by this Government is not yet seen in

these statistics. These threaten to blow up prices beyond anything :

we have seen for 23 years.

The Government has made a pot-purri of wild spending promises 4'

as a means of gaining office. They have subsequently increased / -

the rate of Government spending significantly without basic / ‘

consideration of budgeting problems and the establishment of priorities

Their promises, if ever implemented, will entail a greater increase

in Government spending, which will highten 'demand inflation problems

The Government decision to be a pace-setter and in other ways to

dramatically increase'labour costs by their actions and advocacy,

will add more greatly to cost inflation pressures.

While the Government has been fuelling inflationary fires, in

this way it has mislead the public with diversionary waffle about

controlling prices through machinery it will set up but which

deliberately avoids going to the root of the problem.

As has recently been said, the Government's approach to the serious problem of inflation is like putting a bandaid on a ' ■ ■ ■ v / -

carbuncle.

Until the Government stops being afraid of the union leaders -

cannot tackle the problem of inflation properly. · . It should

not take action which stimulates inflation. While it does this,

will be acting against the public interest and deserves public

criticism.

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