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Treasurer's figures careless



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/?s ?/3/73

' / I S ' k . Q k O k - STATEMENT OF THE RT. HON. WILLIAM McMAHON

It must be obvious that the Treasurer was extremely careless

in the use of figures in the House this morning relating to the increase

in the Government 'deficit for this year 1972/73,

The Treasurer pointed out that in the Budget papers for

1972/73 it was estimated that there would be an overall deficit of

' $630 million and that because of "changes of mind" by my Government

concerned more about political fortunes than the destinies of Australia,

increases were approved which increased the deficit to $800 million.

This would have meant an increase of $170 milliort as a result

of decisions made by my Government between 17th August and the 2nd December

Mr. Crean would have been wise to have looked at the figures

contained in the Treasury Information Bulletin for January 1973 which

he says he deliberately put out.

■ On page 3 the Bulletin says that new expenditure commitments

entered into by my Government after the presentation of the Budget

accounted for some $21 million of the total revision to the

expenditure estimates. The largest single item vyas a special

repayable loan to N.S.W., to assist that State'-s budgetary position,

that is to reduce its deficit and avoid increased taxation, which

was decided well before the Budget and was announced by me in the

Budget context. The actual new expenditure commitments after the ·

Budget, therefore, amounted to something of the order of $6 million

by my Government,

- 2 -

The Bulletin goes on to say on pages 4 and 5 that measures

approved by the Whitlam Government on the expenditure side are estimated

to add $168 million to expenditures in 1972/73 and $331 million in 1973/74.

There are, of course, some savings amounting to $16 million in 1972/73 and

$62 million in a full y e a r .

The balance of increased expenditure amounting to a little more than

$150 million was inevitable and as mentioned on page 2 and 7 and in the

schedules on page 2, 6, 9, and 10 were due mainly to increases in the

growth of beneficiary recipients, wages, rates and other costs»

The Treasurer, Mr. Crean's statement in the House is, therefore,

inconsistent with the facts. V

The Bulletin emphasises that the bulk of the increase in estimated

budget expenditure represents an increase, directly or at one remove, in

real net demand on resources„

By now Mr. Crean should realise that Commonwealth expenditure is

growing at a very rapid pace which must result in greater inflationary

pressure which punishes every section of the community. This is the most

serious economic problem we face in the future.

Mr. Crean's statement does not honestly and accurately reflect .

the facts; it is a distortion of realities and fails to reflect the certain

impact of the increased budget deficit on the economy.

Canberra

March 8, ,1973