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Economic summit meeting in Venice

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^EMBARGO ■Statement by the Treasurer, the Ho n . John Howard, M.P.


The Government welcomes and endorses the agreement among

the leaders of the seven major industrial democracies at

their meeting in Venice that reduction of inflation is

their immediate top priority.

This agreement gives added weight to the views expressed

recently by bodies such as the Interim Committee, of the

International Monetary Fund and the Ministerial Council

of the OECD that fighting inflation' is the single most

important economic objective and the essential

pre-condition to greater economic growth^

The leaders identified rising crude oil prices as the

basis of many of the economic difficulties facing the

industrialised world. . · . .

Their comments about the appropriate response to these

developments are very much in line with those espoused

by the Government. . . . '

They have identified the need, not only to conserve

supplies of crude oil but also to seek alternative

sources of energy.

This Government's policies have been based on this

requirement. Already our conservation policies have

begun to work.

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Moreover, we have encouraged not only exploration for

further reserves of crude oil hut also the use of

alternative energy sources.

Without our policy of import parity pricing for crude,

o i l , for example, the development of the Bundle shale

oil. deposit, which will greatly assist us in meeting

our energy needs in the future, would not have been

possible. .

Australia is much better placed in a very difficult

world environment to weather many of the difficulties

which were identified at the Venice Summit.

At a time of rising world-wide inflation., Australia's

own inflation performance is significantly better.

Recent figures released by the OECD show that the average

rate of inflation in the OECD area in the 12 months to .

April 1930 was 13.9 per cent. The most recent figures

for Australia show that in the year to the March quarter,.

Australiaf s own iv f la '..ion rate was only 10.5 per cent...

While this relatively better performance is quite pleasing

it should remain our paramount objective to reduce in

absolute terms the level of inflation as well as maintaining

our relative advantage.

This can be done only through the maintenance of firm

anti-inflationary policies. The endorsement by the .

Venice Summit of these policies is therefore particularly

relevant. . .

Canberra ,

24 June 1980 ’