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Wednesday, 27 March 1968

Mr McMAHON - I preface my remarks by saying that when they see the figures relating to approvals of housing in Australia most honourable members will be delighted. They are running at a record rate. The rate of approvals is about' 144,000 for this year. So I think that in looking at the matter in terms of approvals and therefore of probable sales, the Government's objectives are being generally achieved. As to the specific question asked by the honourable gentleman, when the Government looks at the problem of an increase in Commonwealth Savings Bank loans for housing purposes, it also has to take into consideration the problem relating to war service homes, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. For this reason, and particularly because the Budget was a very tight one last year, we felt that we should not increase the amount along the lines recommended by the honourable member.

Mr Curtin - Why?

Mr McMAHON - For the reasons that 1 have just given, if the honourable member had listened and had understood them. I can assure the honourable gentleman that I have been looking at the figures again to see whether this year or quite soon we could increase the amount of the Commonwealth Savings Bank loans. I am not without optimism that it will not be very long before I am able to make a decision about it.

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