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Thursday, 6 December 1973
Page: 2544

Senator WEBSTER (VICTORIA) -Is the Minister representing the Treasurer aware of the extreme escalation in the cost of living, particularly the cost of building materials, and the problems this presents in regard to the building of homes for the aged? Is the Minister aware of the financial burden placed on Australian citizens, particularly those who live in less densely populated areas, who attempt to provide funds for homes for the aged, a policy which is encouraged by all policital parties? Will the Minister consider increasing the Australian Government's proportion of the contribution to the construction of such buildings?

Senator MURPHY -I am aware of the increase in the cost of living, which is evident, and in the price of various goods. I trust that next Saturday the honourable senator will do all that he can to ensure the passage of the referendum proposal which will enable this Parliament to pass laws to control prices and to take such measures as it can, by legislation and by administration, to deal with the problem. I trust that he will also facilitate the passage of the Trade Practices Bill which, according to various members of his Party, will have a material effect, if put into operation, in curbing restrictive practices which force up the price of goods in the building industry and in other areas. The Government is doing whatever it can to take the heat out of the increasing cost of living and to see that everyone is able to enjoy the pleasure of home ownership.

Senator WEBSTER - Mr President,I wish to ask a supplementary question.

The PRESIDENT - Very well.

Senator WEBSTER - I did not ask that question of the Minister representing the Treasurer. I asked a question about the Government's contribution towards the building of homes for the aged. The Minister answered on some other matter and tried to gain some benefit by referring to prices control.

Senator MURPHY - I will refer to the Treasurer the specific element about homes for the aged in the honourable senator's very long question. As the honourable senator knows, these decisions are made in the context of budgets and other matters and as part of the general economic and social program of the Government. Consideration will be given to the matter.

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