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Thursday, 13 February 1986
Page: 231


Senator MICHAEL BAUME —I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

That the Senate-

(a) notes that record high interest rates have caused nearly half the rise in the 1986 farm costs forecast by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics (BAE), that will cut average farm incomes by two thirds, push one third of farms into loss and result in three quarters of Australia's family farms earning less than the average weekly earnings of an employed male in a city job, despite their huge investment and increasing indebtedness which is rising towards $8,000m;

(b) expresses its disappointment at the Federal Government's refusal to follow advice of November 1985 from the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr B. W. Fraser, that its reliance on high interest rate policies could not persist without damaging the economy; and

(c) calls on the Federal Government urgently to introduce a mini-budget to substantially cut Government spending, fully discount wages for devaluation, reduce its excessive reliance on high interest rates to control the economy, fully pass on the lower world oil price to consumers, particularly in rural areas, and to accept last week's public plea from the Director of its own BAE , Dr Stoeckel, for policy initiatives to alleviate the `severe financial stress' now confronting the rural sector.