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Wednesday, 10 May 1961

Mr HAROLD HOLT - I was not aware of the cases to which the honorable gentleman has referred, and I do not recall his having brought them to my notice previously. He will remember that, after inquiries on this matter had been made some time ago, I took up with the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia the question of the strict application of the directive, which had been issued after consultation with the Government, that preference in advances was to be given to rural producers. I was assured at that time, after consultation between the governor and the general managers of the tradings banks, that full effect was being given to the directive and that the managements held themselves ready to consider at the head offices of the banks any complaints which were considered to indicate that the directive had not been reasonably applied as required by the Government. Since that time, very few cases of the kind mentioned by the honorable gentleman have come to my notice.

I do know that the Commonwealth Development Bank has been lending extensively for rural export purposes. The question of the adequacy of the capital of the bank is, as I have said in this House previously, a matter of policy which is being considered. If the honorable member for Indi cares to give me now the names of the persons concerned and the details of their cases, I shall see that they are brought directly to the notice of the general manager of the Commonwealth Development Bank.

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