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Tuesday, 16 August 1960

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) (Treasurer) - I think honorable gentlemen are aware that in the last financial year there was record home construction in Australia and that the accelerated rate of domestic construction continues in association with a boom in commercial building. As a result, we are already noticing considerable pressure in the building industry. This has reached the point where, if my recollection is accurate, there are approximately two vacancies in the industry for each person offering for employment. Some shortages in various materials, including clay bricks and, I think, structural steel, have already developed. In these circumstances, I would think it good sense that rather than have scarcities force up the costs against home builders, in any general programme of restraint there should be some restraint also on the finance being made available for home construction.

The importance of home building is well recognized by the Government. We are proud of the fact that record home construction has occurred during our period of office, but we would also wish to guard against a situation in which the home builder, who will in many cases carry the burden of the debt on his home for the best part of a lifetime, is forced into excessive costs because of unwarranted scarcities.

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