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Thursday, 15 August 1974
Page: 1038

Senator Greenwood asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:

(   1 ) Did the Prime Minister and the Minister for Overseas Trade state on 18 July 1973 that the Joint Committee on Prices would be asked to ensure that consumers got the full benefit of the 25 percent reduction in tariffs.

(2   ) To what Joint Committee were they referring.

(3)   Have consumers got the full benefit of the 25 percent reduction in tariffs.

(4)   Did the Joint Committee have the power to ensure that consumers got the full benefit of the reductions; if not why was it asked.

(5)   If the Committee had the power, why have not consumers got the full benefits of the reduction.

Senator Murphy - The Prime Minister has provided the following information for answer to the honourable senator's question:

(   1 ) Yes. See statement on tariff reduction in House of Representatives Hansard of 2 1 August 1973 on page 167.

(2)   The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Prices, appointed on 12 April 1973 (see House of Representatives Hansard page 1451). It was again resolved on 23 July 1974 to appoint the Joint Committee on Prices (Senate Hansard page 342).

(3)   The individual effect of the 25 per cent reduction is difficult to determine, as the currency revaluations that have taken place would tend to have a similar effect. On the evidence available, however, retail prices have not reflected the full effect of the tariff reduction and currency revaluations.

(4)   The functions of the Committee are to inquire into and, as appropriate, report upon:

(a)   complaints arising from prices charged by private industry and by the public sector;

(   b ) movements in prices of goods and services in particular fields or sections of private industry and the public sector, for example, as measured by price indices; and

(c)   such other matters relating to prices as may be referred to the committee by resolution of either House of the Parliament.

The Committee has been examining the matter within these terms of appointment.

(5)   See (4) above

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