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Wednesday, 20 May 1970

Mr HUNT (Gwydir) -! support clause 6 because it is one of the important clauses outlining the functions of the Corporation. Under the Bill the provision of finance is primarily to fill a gap which exists in the broad spectrum of financial resources available to enable an Australian owned industry to expand its operations principally for the export market and so assist in our balance of payments situation in the future. The motives have been clearly outlined by the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) - to help structure existing viable industries on a world competitive basis and to maximise Australian equity. These objectives are to be achieved in a private enterprise environment and the terms of the Bill ensure that it will operate within the principles of the free enterprise system. This is not a Socialist measure to create a new bank. It is not a new bank. The Corporation will not have the privileges and purposes of a bank and will not function as a bank, as some antagonists have suggested. The limitations that apply in the field of banking do not apply to this Corporation. It will not compete with the banking system and certainly will not supplant the Australian Resources Development Bank, but I submit that it will1 tend to supplement or complement the role of the Australian Resources Development Bank.

The broad functions of the Corporation under clause 6 will be to encourage the development and expansion of Australian industry, especially those industries processing our own plentiful resources, such as minerals - and I hope products of rural origin. I am thinking in terms of wool processing in the future - and to facilitate industrial development on a scale large enough to expand exports of an industrial nature on a world wide industrial competitive basis; to help earn foreign exchange and so assist our balance of payments situation which will need watching, according to the figures that have already been given to us projecting future requirements of foreign exchange into the 1970's. It will' help Australian owned and part-owned and Australian controlled industries to increase their scale of production, thereby reducing the need in some cases for heavy tariff protection. This should, of course, help to stabilise costs generally in our economy. If Australian industry can increase its scale of production by exploiting the world market opportunities then we should see more efficient industry needing less tariff protection and a consequent lowering of costs in our rural export industries, particularly our wool industry which of course is our biggest export industry and certainly one of our most unprotected industries.

Australia, in ils present stage of dramatic development, is requiring a continuing and growing demand for capital. We are a capital hungry country. We have seen over $L000m per annum worth of capital inflow lo this country in the last 2 years, and of course this has brought with it considerable foreign ownership of Australian industry and a need to service dividend commitments and repayments into the future. But Australia is going to need a continuing flow of capital into this country. There has been a need for a long time to ensure that wc do retain in some way Australian equity in our industrial sector. In order to give some idea of the capital requirement of Australian industries, I quote the following figures: In 1949, $ 1. 090m was invested in-

Dr J F Cairns (LALOR, VICTORIA) - Mr Chairman, I rise to order. I understand that some kind of arrangement has been made among members of the Government parties. But, after all, we are in the Committee stage and we arc dealing with a particular clause which is very narrow in its manner and substance. I submit that the remarks being made at present by the honourable member for Gwydir are very wide of that clause. We are now sitting well after 11 o'clock, the time at which we decided we should adjourn. I submit that the debate should be kept more confined to the clause before the Committee.

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