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Tuesday, 19 September 1972
Page: 903

Senator McLAREN - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. In view of the statement yesterday by the Minister for Primary Industry that the Prime Minister was uninformed on the proposed .formation of a rural bank as announced by the Country Party, can the Minister inform the Senate why a series of meetings on this matter was held between the Minister for Primary Industry and the Treasurer without the knowledge of the Prime Minister?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - I have not seen the statement referred to, and I would not think that the Minister for Primary Industry said that the Prime Minister was uninformed. Because of the decision contained in the Budget to make $20m available for rural finance, the Treasurer and the Minister for Primary Industry have been carrying on a series of meetings not simply between themselves but with the managing directors of banks. The officials of both the Department of Primary Industry and the Treasury are still continuing discussions with the bank officials. When a decision is made - as I said the other day, I hope that a decision will be made very shortly - we will have the opportunity of knowing what is contained in it and perhaps discussing it at later time.

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