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Wednesday, 28 March 1973
Page: 769

Mr ARMITAGE (CHIFLEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I address my question to the Minister for Social Security in his capacity as Acting Treasurer. Has the Minister's attention been drawn t: a page 1 article in today's Australian' headed 'AIDC Rebuffs Hayden'? The newspaper is not rebuffing the Prime Minister this time; it is rebuffing the Acting Treasurer. The article claims that the Executive Chairman of the Australian Industry Development Corporation, Sir Alan Westerman, had rebuffed statements by the Acting Treasurer that Australia's overseas reserves of $500m could be better used to finance local development. Obviously someone has made a mistake there because Australia's overseas reserves would be nearer $5,000m than $500m.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I ask the honourable gentleman to get to his question.

Mr ARMITAGE - I therefore ask the Minister: Has he been suitably chastened by this rebuff and does he confess his guilt, or will he now put his point of view before the House?

Mr HAYDEN (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Social Security) - Actually, I have been rebuffed many times in my life, especially when I was younger, but much smaller amounts of money were involved. I think there has been some misunderstanding on the part of the person who has written the article. I certainly do not see any area of conflict between what Sir Alan Westerman has said and what I have been saying. What I have been saying is that there is more than adequate liquidity in Australia at the present time. One of the requirements is to mobilise that effectively within the economy. But if foreign loans are raised for development purposes in this country, which bring in no goods and services, all they do is inject further inflation into the economy, and this is undesirable.

What 1 suggested was that, to the extent that goods and services were required from outside the country, these could be paid for from our rather vast accumulation of overseas reserves which are moving towards the $5,000m mark. Nothing I have said is inconsistent with what Sir Alan Westerman has said, and vice versa. I added that the Australian Industry Development Corporation was to be expanded and that the Treasurer and the Minister for Overseas Trade were working towards that end. Their purpose is to mobilise effectively more of our domestic resources for the development of this country, to overcome the institutional deficiencies presently operating in the financial structures.

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