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Thursday, 13 September 1984
Page: 971

Senator MAGUIRE —I direct my question to the Attorney-General. In the wake of Australia's economic recovery, has there been any decline in the national level of bankruptcies? Do the figures for bankruptcies in South Australia in 1983-84 indicate a significant drop over the previous year? Has there been an increase in bankruptcies in any State in the last financial year?

Senator GARETH EVANS —Bankruptcy figures are, as we all know, a good yardstick, after the event at least, of the general condition of the economy. Preliminary figures for the financial year 1983-84 confirm the dramatic turnaround in the economy under the Hawke Labor Government and State Labor governments. In particular, there have been dramatic reductions in bankruptcies of 15 per cent in both South Australia and Victoria over the previous year under Liberal governments. It is noteworthy that the extent to which the Queensland economy continues to wallow in a degree of local difficulty is shown up by the fact that there has been a 26 per cent increase in bankruptcies in southern Queensland and a 20 per cent increase in central Queensland bankruptcies. Western Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory all show decreases. There is an increase in bankruptcy in northern Queensland and the Northern Territory. Overall, the Government is pleased with the progress, although we do recognise that there is more work to be done. The figures do show , yet again, that the Government's economic policies are working.