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Thursday, 30 September 1971
Page: 1770

Mr IRWIN (Mitchell) - The honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) should undergo a course in positive thinking. He sees in any legislation pitfalls and omissions that nobody else appears to notice. He has been belching about the wool industry. When the Export Payments Insurance Corporation Bill was introduced in 1956 to stimulate the sales of export capital goods the wool industry was not under any challenge or going through the depressing period which it is now experiencing. The honourable member forgets that our traditional buyers of wool did not want any assistance in financing the purchase of wool because their vast ramifications made this unnecessary. The Commissioner of Exports Payments Insurance Corporation and the Government have given consideration to ensuring assistance in the selling of wool if need be. There may be an opening for markets in the cheap labour centres of the world for the processing of wool and if need be the Government can give consideration in this regard.

As I said the Act establishing the Export Payments Insurance Corporation came into being in 1956 to assist in the overseas purchase of our manufactured goods. The old system of finance was through letters of credit with the banking system and in other ways but we find that in South East Asia finance over 10 or 12 years is available from non-Western countries. Czechoslovakia is offering India very extended terms of repayment for manufactured goods up to 10 and 12 years. Of course this has been outside our thinking but it would appear that we will have to meet this competition in the future and it is by the sophistication of such Bills as this that it may be possible for us to match the competition of these other countries.

In my electorate of Mitchell the Transavia Corporation Pty Ltd has produced a small aircraft with great capabilities. EPIC could have sold 2 of these aircraft at $25,000 to $30,000 to India but payment would have been made in rupees. Despite representations I made on this matter I could not get the Reserve Bank, the Treasury or the Department of Trade and Industry to assist. But little New Zealand can make a sale. New Zealand has sold, with the assistance of its Government, the Fletcher aircraft made under licence in New Zealand. The New Zealand Government is assisting in the manufacture of this aircraft and in the sale of the aircraft in South East Asia and in India. We have to get out and take risks in overseas trade. It is the lifeblood of the community. We should be brave and tackle the proposition with vigour and determination. This Bill is breaking new ground and in regard to buyers credit it opens up new fields and ventures, but as I said before we have to be brave in our ideas. Our traditional concept of finance has to be completely overhauled and updated if we are to become competitors in the sale of our manufactured capital goods in South East Asia and other emerging countries.

I congratulate the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) on the Bill. I know that the Government will receive cooperation from the financial institutions. They are there to transact business. But when one starts to coerce and suggest that they have to co-operate I think that is wrong. If they think it is not a good business undertaking the institutions should not be forced into it. The first guiding principle of a bank manager when lending money is to ask whether he is being a person's best friend. There is a difference between real banking and fringe banking. The fringe bankers do not care as long as they have sufficient security to cover the indebtedness. But an ethical banker wants to do the right thing by his customer. From his accumulated experience in handling different types of trade, if in his judgment what the customer proposes to do with the money is wrong when it would be unethical to lend him the money.

The Bill is a good one. It will open up avenues and ideas. 1 think it will have to be amended fairly frequently from time to time to keep up with the pace of our overseas competitors. One would think that by now the balance of payments situation would have ceased to be a handicap or a hazard that countries have to put up with. I had hoped by now that the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank would have contrived and brought in a scheme to break down the traditionally high regard for and value of gold in international trade. I think we are heading that way. I hope that within a very few years balance of payments will not be creating the great difficulties that it creates today between trading nations. I commend the Bill.

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