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Tuesday, 9 November 1976
Page: 2434

Mr CORBETT (MARANOA, QUEENSLAND) -Can the Prime Minister advise what effects the latest economic announcement by the Treasurer will have on the availability of finance and interest rates for primary producers?

Mr MALCOLM FRASER - Some sections of the Australian community have been hit very hard in recent years. A number of the policies of the previous Administration were designed quite directly to hit, to attack and to harm primary producers and, to an extent, exporters in general. The general rise in costs promoted by the policies of the previous Administration hurt exporters very greatly.

Mr Hurford - That is absolute rubbish.

Mr MALCOLM FRASER -The Opposition does not like the truth very much.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The question was asked and the Prime Minister is entitled to answer without an array- of interjections. I call upon the Opposition not to interject.

Mr MALCOLM FRASER - I have the opportunity of reminding the House that it was the policies of the previous Administration that did so much to harm rural producers and exporters in general. If that were not a deliberate act of policy I would like to know how else it could be described. We had the circumstances in which the Prime Minister of the day and presumably the Treasurer of the day were proposing that the reserve price for wool be reduced from 250c to 200c a kilogram. If that were not a deliberate act to try to take it out on the rural sector I do not know what it was. The Treasurer has made it plain in this recent move that funds for profit productive enterprises are not to be restricted. That is not the purpose of the move at all, especially in relation to groups that have been hard hit by past decisions and past policies. The honourable gentleman may also rest assured that in relation to the area which he has mentioned of the so-called small borrowers or larger borrowers there will be no movement of interest rates.

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