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Tuesday, 16 October 1984
Page: 1743

Senator FOREMAN —Has the Minister representing the Minister for Housing and Construction seen the figures released on 8 October by the Australian Bureau of Statistics which show that the housing industry finished the 1983-84 financial year well ahead of the previous year? Is he also aware that in South Australia building approvals were almost double those of the 1982-83 financial year? Is the Minister of the opinion that part of the reason for the buoyancy in the housing market is the introduction of the Government's first home owners scheme? Will the Minister outline how South Australia will fare during the next three years under the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement?

Senator GRIMES —The buoyant state of the housing industry and the great increase in housing approvals and housing construction in the last year has been drawn to my attention and, I am sure, to the attention of every other honourable senator who, unless he or she is completely churlish and ungracious, must accept that this is one of the great success stories of this country in the last year. When we came to government the housing industry in this country was in a deplorable state with grossly unused capacity and high unemployment. As a result of the Government's first home owner scheme and its policies in the areas of public housing and assistance to the States there has been, as Senator Foreman said, a great improvement in this industry. As a result of that we are taking the first steps towards overcoming the housing shortages and difficulties we have had in this country for many years. There has been a great boost to employment and to the associated manufacturing industries in general. As Senator Foreman said, South Australia has been to the forefront because of the positive housing policies of the State Government in South Australia.

Senator Messner —The prices are out of hand.

Senator GRIMES —It is only people such as Senator Messner, who are not concerned about jobs and about homes, who can be at all critical of this sort of activity and who can take the Jeremiah-like approach that things are terrific now but later on they will be crook. Things will get crook only if, for some reason, insanity overtakes everyone and the Liberal Party of Australia gets back into government within the next 10 years, but that is not likely. As I said, South Australia has benefited considerably from that policy. I do not have in my mind or in a briefing here the exact details of the projections for South Australia in the next three years. If Senator Foreman arranged for them to be sent to me, something must have happened in the mail. I will obtain that information for Senator Foreman as soon as I can and will give it to him as soon as possible after Question Time.