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Wednesday, 28 October 1970

Dr PATTERSON (Dawson) (3:46 AM) - I move:

Tn sub-clause (1.). omit 'an approved bank or from another lender', insert 'the Reserve Bank'.

The purpose of this amendment is quite clear. We believe that the loans should be negotiated through the Rural Credits Department of the Reserve Bank principally because the rate of interest then could be specifically negotiated between the Government and the Reserve Bank. Another lender* referred to in this clause is not defined in any way. It could be other than an approved bank. It could be a pastoral firm or an overseas firm. It is not defined. Naturally the Opposition wishes that the procedure be consistent with that which obtains, in the case of, say, wheat, and that it be financed through the Reserve Bank of Australia. Under such circumstances, the Government would then have complete negotiative power with respect to the rate of interest. After all, this clause has to be read with clause 3 which states that the Commonwealth will guarantee the repayment of amounts borrowed and the payment of interest. In other words, the Commonwealth Government underwrites, if necessary, every loan at the rate of interest negotiated with an approved bank or some other lender. In other words, the taxpayer underwrites it. The position should be consistent with that of other primary industries. We believe that it ought to be financed through the Reserve Bank at a negotiable rate of interest.

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