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Wednesday, 27 November 1985
Page: 2344

Senator MICHAEL BAUME(12.25) —Mr Temporary Chairman, I want to pursue the question of the increase in defence capital spending involved as a result of the cost increase, in Australian dollar terms-as I understand from previous comments, something like $400m is the `go' figure at the moment-as a result of devaluation. I wanted to feel confident that in the light of the Government's particular balance of payments problem emerging from the deficit of $5,000m in the first four months there would be no suggestion that the defence forces would be obliged to reschedule their purchases in order to diminish the problem emerging from the balance of payments. I am seeking an assurance from the Minister along those lines, that balance of payments problems will not lead to any deferment of these capital spending programs which already appear to have been diminished to a fairly embarrassingly low level particularly when one recognises the large volume of purchases that will be upcoming and the risks that already exist of slippage in some of these programs.