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Tuesday, 7 May 1985
Page: 1736

Mr MAHER —I direct my question to the Prime Minister. What positive economic benefit should flow for our nation following the recent devaluation of the Australian dollar?

Mr HAWKE —Again I thank the honourable member for Lowe for his question. I can be brief in my answer to this question. The benefits are obvious. The people on the other side of the House representing rural Australia-we have a number of them on this side of the House and we will have more after the next election-have obviously welcomed the devaluation because it will mean that both our exporters of rural products and our exporters of mineral products will have a welcome increase in their income levels as a result. It is not so obviously and frequently recognised that the devaluation will have very significant benefits also for our manufacturing industry because it will make it more competitive both on export markets and against imports. I am able to say to the House that as a result of discussions with a number of business leaders engaged actively in the manufacturing sector, what is obviously true in theory is also being worked out in practice. I have been informed that a number of export markets are opening up for areas of our manufacturing industry which, until the devaluation, it had not regarded as being within its range. So all sectors of our economy should benefit from the devaluation.

As I have said before, the challenge and responsibility for government is to ensure that these benefits are not dissipated by a secondary inflationary spiral. We are committed to ensuring that the necessary action will be taken to prevent that outcome. In the event, the devaluation of the Australian dollar should be seen as providing a very significant opportunity to enterprise in this country. I believe it is capable of rising to that challenge and we, in government, will ensure that it has every opportunity to take advantage of that challenge.