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Wednesday, 10 April 1957

Mr McEWEN - Under the higher level of licensing, there is an increase of 661 per cent, in the quota levels for the B category goods, which are mostly the type of goods which I think the honorable member has in mind. That, clearly, is a very substantial increase but, in addition to that, a not inconsiderable sum has been earmarked to enable the Department of Trade to deal with as many anomalous situations as can be met within the limits of the arithmetic set by the amount of money that can be reasonably earmarked for this purpose inside the total £75,000,000 relaxation. The Department of Trade is aware that some businesses have expanded rather dramatically since import licensing has occurred and that they are now in an anomalous position. Then there are other businesses which have not expanded to the same extent. I could name a number of other types of anomalies, so we will be dealing with those. But having said that, 1 want to make it quite clear that the department will not be in a position to cure every anomalous position that is brought to its notice, not due to any unwillingness, but because the department, from the funds explicitly set aside by the Cabinet for this particular purpose, understands that it will not have enough money to cure all anomalies, lt will be for the Department of Trade to exercise its best judgment within the limits of the funds available, having regard to the individual circumstances. Having said that, I say again thai, having to work in this matter with public servants in a rather arbitrary manner, 1 have no objection whatever to public criticism of what we are doing, because, if we cannot give a reasonable explanation, what we are doing must be wrong.

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