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Tuesday, 18 April 1972
Page: 1757


Mr Hayden asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

(1)   Did the white paper on the Australian economy 1970 stale that wage increases were a symptom rather than a cause of inflation.

(2)   What were the causes the Treasury had in mind then.

(3)   What was the evidence to substantiate the view that these other issues were causes.

(4)   As he refers only to wage and salary increases as being causes of inflation currently, does this mean that those other issues have ceased being causes; if so, when did they cease being causes and what objective evidence does he have available to confirm this, and how does it contrast with the earlier evidence that these issues were in fact the major causes of inflation.

(5)   Is it his proposition that wage and salary increases are the only current causes of inflation; if not, what are the other current causes and specifically what was the influence of Government policy in such things as direct and indirect tax increases, abolition of incentives, and so on, in fostering inflationary movements.

(6)   What proportion of adult male wage and salary earners receive less than average weekly earnings according to the latest statistics available.

(7)   What proportion of wage and salary earners receive double or more than double average weekly earnings from the latest statistics available and what proportion of total actual income do they receive.

(8)   What proportion of the adult unemployed are semi-skilled and unskilled, would this be generally the lowest income earners in the community and does he suspect they would have considerable difficulty in living on $10 per week unemployment benefits.

(9)   What influence would the substantial and accelerating increases in doctors incomes have on inflationary pressures.

(10)   Is it more likely that high income doctors would have spare money to speculate with on the stock exchange or low income local authority road workers. 01 1.) ls it a fact that the Government's economic policies are purposefully designed to create unemployment so as to cast the heaviest burden of sacrifice on those least able to bear this sacrifice, namely, the moderate and low income earners.

(12)   If so, to what extent does class antagonism dictate the decision that the moderate and low income earners will be the ones to suffer most in the Government's recessionary economic policies.


Mr Snedden - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   No. The relevant part of the 1970 White Paper on the Australian Economy said on this point:

What will be said here about the effect which rising wages have had on prices in recent years is not at al) intended to imply that they have been solely responsible for the -price increases which have occurred. It is not so. A good many other factors have contributed, larger profit margins probably more than most. Also, any tendency foi demand to run to excess quickly reflects itself in the elements making up costs but the directly consequential rises in wages are the symptoms rather than causes of the prevailing inflation.' (Page 12) and further at ally rate, there can be no escaping the conclusion thai strongly rising wages have been contributing to the recent faster rate of price increases and the rapid growth of demand.' (Page 13)

(2)   As the paragraphs quoted above show, the Treasury was concerned with the effects of strongly rising wages, high profit margins and excess demand.

(3)   The Australian Economy 1970 contained the evidence to substantiate this view.

(4)   and (J) I do not hold that wages and salary increase's are the only causes of inflation. My views on this point were expressed in my Ministerial statement of 24th February, as follows: . . . while there are other factors also operating, it is incontrovertible that the mainspring of our present inflationary problem is the continuing excessive rise in wage and salary costs'.

Other factors which appear to have intensified the current inflationary problem include the lagged effects of the previous excess demand situation, differing price movements for goods and services traded on our overseas current account, industrial unrest and, of course, non-economic factors - such as those summed up in the term inflationary psychology'.

With respect to increases in indirect taxes and charges, I said at the time of release of the December Quarter Consumer Price Index thai the bulk of them was essentially a response to increased wage costs which had to be met by the authorities and business instrumentalities concerned.

As to the abolition of incentives, I assume the question refers to the suspension, in February 1971, of the investment allowance on plant and equipment used in manufacturing. At that time, private investment in non-farm plant and equipment was rising very rapidly and in those circumstances it was thought inappropriate to continue the incentive. The rate of increase in private investment has subsequently eased. The government recently decided to restore the investment allowance, the view having been strongly put to us that this was a measure most likely to boost confidence and activity in the manufacturing industries.

(6)   The results of a Survey of Weekly Earnings of adult male employees which was conducted by the Commonwealth Statistician during May 1971. are relevant to the honourable member's question.

The results are representative of 2,213,000 fulltime adult male employees whose normal hours of work are 30 or more a week and who were paid for their full normal hours of work during the survey period.

The estimated proportion of these full-time adult male employees who earned less than the average weekly total earnings (as estimated in this Survey) in the pay-period which included 12th May 1971. is set out in the table below. The estimates are based on the assumption that, for the total weekly earnings group in which the average weekly total earnings figure falk, employees are evenly distributed (consideration being given separately to managerial, etc., staff and to all other full-time adult males).

The survey excluded employees of private employers not subject to pay-roll tax; employees in rural industry and private domestic service- employees of religious, benevolent and other similar organisations exempt from pay-roll tax; and waterside workers employed on a casual basis.

 

(7)   I am informed that there are no statistics which are available to answer the honourable member's question.

(8)   As at the end of January 1972, adult semiskilled manual workers comprised 32 per cent of all adults registered for employment, while a further 24 per cent of the adults registered were unskilled manual workers. While no statistics are available of earnings by level of skill of the workers involved, it seems reasonable to assume that unskilled and semi-skilled workers are generally amongst the lower income groups of the community.

On the matter of unemployment benefits, the basic rate was, of course, recently increased to $17 per week.

(9)   and (10) The direct influence of increases in doctors incomes would be very small. There are less than 20,000 doctors practising in Australia, out of a labour-force of over5½ million. In terms of the impact on the Consumer Price Index, the weighting given to cost of doctors' services is about 1 per cent.

(11)   No.

(12)   Ideologies that incorporate ideas of society as represented by such terms as'class antagonism' have no proper place in Australia and no influence whatever in the Government's decisions.

Environment: International Agreement (Question No. 4988)


Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for the

Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice:

Has Australia taken steps to develop bilateral relations on environmental matters with the United States of America as Canada, Japan, Mexico, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Yugoslavia and India have done.


Mr Howson - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

In November 1971 the Prime Minister had discussions in Washington with the Chairman, Mr Russell Train, and other members of the United States Council on Environmental Quality.

We have continuing contact with the United States Authorities through our scientific liaison staff at the Embassy in Washington. In addition, a senior officer of my Department recently had discussions in Washington with officials of environment agencies.

Post Office Closures: Tasmania (Question No. 4999)


Mr Barnard asked the Postmaster-

General, upon notice:

(1)   What country post offices have been closed in each Federal electoral division in Tasmania in the last 10 years.

(2)   What country post offices are likely to be closed in each Federal electoral division in Tasmania in 1972.


Mr Lynch - The Acting PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question, showing in brackets after the name of each office the approximate average daily sales of postage stamps for the last complete financial year before the office was closed: (l)

Wilmot Electorate 1961- 62- 'Brighton Military Camp (94c), Victoria Valley (35c). 1962- 63- Jericho (91c). 1963- 64- Mount Nicholas (30c). 1964- 65 - Roses Tier (16c), Tyenna (Records not available). 1965- 66- Cullenswood (46c), Fentonbury (58c), Merseylea (38c), Oakwood (11c), Rekuna (23c), Upper Esk (16c), Uxbridge (41c). 1966- 67- Andover (57c), Little Swanport (6c), Llewellyn (19c), Meadowbanks Hydro Camp ($2.39). 1967- 68- Pa wtella (15c), Frankford West (15c), Interlaken (29c), Magra (45c), Notley Hills ($1.07), Oaks (4c), Retreat (8c). Rhyndaston (28c), Rosevale (20c), Stormlea (28c), Strickland (7c), Toiberry (20c), Steppes (17c). 1968- 69- Needles (75c), Nugent (10c), Paloona (18c), Stonehenge (15c), Winkleigh ($2.45), York Plains (49c), Antill Ponds (99c), Birralee (22c), Blackwood Creek (38c), Broadmarsh (17c), Dromedary (34c), Flowery Gully (86c), Kellevie (29c), Lyetta (29c), Mangalore ($2.12), Ormley (20c). 1969- 70- Apsley (21c), Bream Creek (57c), Elizabeth Town (64c), Hayes (43c). Holwell (24c), Levendale (31c), Moogara (8c), Mount Seymour (22c), Murdunna (84c), Powranna (14c), Quamby Brook (68c), Stonor (26c), Stoodley (29c), Whitefoord (61c), Blessington (10c). 1970- 71- Beulah Lower (21c), Deddington (18c), Glenora (54c), Koonya ($1.09), Liena (42c), Lorinna (7c), Mayberry (5c), Moltema (76c), Rowella (97c), Saltwater River (29c), Taranna ($2.45), Waddamana ($1.00), Weegena (41c). 1971- 72- Osterley (68c), National Park ($1.11), Riverside West ($4.07), Runnymede (23c), Highcroft (81c).

Bass Electorate 1961-62- Rocherlea (61c). 1966- 67- Gray (8c). 1967- 68- Tonganah (8c), Turners Marsh Lower (41c), Diddleum Plains (14c), Kamona (10c), North Scottsdale (12c), Springfield South (12c), Tayene (13c), Telita (55c), Egg Lagoon (25c). 1968- 69- Patersonia (9c), Pipers Brook (12c), Priory (6c), Relbia (24c), Scottsdale West (15c), Trenah (45c), Tunnel (33c), White Hills (30c), Alberton (11c), Breadalbane (73c), Blue Rocks (11c), Emita (5c), Lalla (18c), Legunia (14c), Lietinna (18c), Lilydale North (14c), Memana (36c), Myrtle Bank (15c). 1969- 70- Jetsonville (7c), Targa (12c), Tulendeena (49c), Burns Creek (35c). 1970- 71- Beechford (16c), Mount Direction (32c), Turners Marsh (25c). 1971-72 (July-February) - South Mount Cameron (23c), Weldborough (65c), Underwood (23c), Royal George (72c), Bangor (23c), Herrick (96c), Moorina (40c), Goshen (18c).

Braddon Electorate 1961- 62- Weetah (12c). 1962- 63-Howth (16c), Naracoopa (16c). 1964- 65- Parrawe (8c), Regatta Point (52c). 1965- 66- Mooreleah (8c), Parkhum (22c), Spalford (17c), Western Creek (30c). 1966- 67- Abbotsham (34c), Harford (52c), Linda (42c), Musselboro (20c), Takone West (31c). 1967- 68- Christmas Hills (29c). Montana (11c), Roger River West (15c). 1968- 69- Preston South (15c), Castra Central (37c). Guildford Junction (36c), Heka (3c), Loyetea (9c), Melrose (30c). 1969- 70- Camena (13c), Hampshire (7c), Lapoinya (21c), Wiltshire Junction (23c), Oldina (15c). 1971-72 (July-February)- Eugenana ($ 1 . 00).

Franklin Electorate 1961-62- Franklin South (27c). 1964-65- Oyster Cove (29c). 1966- 67- Wattle Grove (9c). 1967- 68- Wattle Grove Lower (39c), Woodstock (22c). Pelverata (13c), Glaziers Bay (11c), Gordon (79c), Howden (2c). Kaoota (13c), Lymington (54c). 1968- 69-Hastings (34c), Glenlusk (14c), Berriedale ($1.63), Austins Ferry ($1.00), Neika (16c). 1969- 70- Barnes Bay (73c), Garden Island Creek (53c). 1971-72 (July-February)- Sandford ($1.03), Longley ($3.42), Simpsons Bay (87c), Lunawanna (69c), Cairns Bay (28c).

Denison Electorate 1961-62 - Wellington Vale ($4.70). 1970- 71- Mount Nelson ($1.43).

Where residents were obtaining their mail through the post office, appropriate arrangements to continue getting mail to these people have been made.

(2)   Post Offices planned to be closed in 1972 (March-December):

Consideration is being given to closing the Takone and Calder West non-official post offices inthe Braddon Electorate when the automatic telephone service is introduced shortly.

In the Wilmot Electorate, Dulverton is expected to close at the end of April as it is serving only two families, one being that of the Postmistress, and Falmouth could close later in the year because very little business is being transacted and alternative mail arrangements can be made. Scamander Upper, in the Bass Electorate, could also close later in the year for the same reason.

If the automatic telephone service is cut over as planned at the end of the year, Golconda, also in the Bass Electorate, could close.

Television Services in Western Australia (Question No. 51.32)


Mr Collard (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) asked the Postmaster-

General, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact that the commencement of transmission from the television station at Carnarvon, Western Australia, may be delayed beyond June, 1972.

(2)   If so, what is the reason for this delay and when is the station now expected to commence transmission. (3)If there is to be a delay with respect to Carnarvon, is it anticipated that similar delays will also occur with other stations in Western Australia.


Mr Lynch - The Acting PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   The Carnarvon television station is expected to be completed during June, 1972. While the special technical features of this station have required equipment orders to be placed on an overseas supplier, which makes actual delivery times difficult to control, we have the assurance of the manufacturer that the equipment will be delivered in time to permit the target completion date to be achieved.

(2)   Covered by the answer to Question No. 1.

(3)   Delays to other Western Australia stations are not anticipated at this stage.

Television. Services in Western Australia

Question No. 5133


Mr Collard asked the Postmaster-

General, upon notice:

(1)   Is the coaxial cable to be extended north of Port Hedland in Western Australia.

(2)   If so, when is it expected to reach (a) Broome, (b) Derby and (c) Wyndham.

(3)   If this extension is unlikely for several years ahead, will he recommend to the Government that local authorities north of Port Hedland be offered substantial financial asistance towards the establishment of television series similar to those operating in iron ore towns in the north.


Mr Lynch - The Acting PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   At present, there are no firm plans for extension of the coaxial cable beyond Port Hedland. Additional trunk telephone circuits will be required to the Kimberleys area within the next few years, but the method of provision has not yet been firmly decided. Trunk telephone systems capable of providing a television relay in addition to the trunk circuits are considerably more expensive over these long distances than systems without the television relay capability and detailed engineering and economic studies must be completed before decision can be reached.

(2)   No firm dates can be given at this stage, for the reasons stated in (1).

(3)   The Australian Broadcasting Control Board, the authority responsible for the planning of the television services, has under continuous examination ways and means of further extending the services, and in this connection has given some consideration to the possibilities of providing television services to additional remote centres throughout the Commonwealth, including centres in the north of Western Australia.

As the honourable member will appreciate there are both technical and economic difficulties associated with the provision of services to remote and sparsely populated areas but I can assure him that the Board has the matters which he has raised under consideration, including the possibility of using television repeater type stations such as are operating in remote mining communities.

Television Services in Western Australia (Question No. 5134)


Mr Collard asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:

(1)   Will the television station proposed to be established at Dampier, Western Australia, provide a service to Karratha or Roebourne or both.

(2)   If not, is it intended that these centres will be serviced with television inthe near future: if so, when and by what means.

(3)   If there is no intention to provide a service to either Karratha or Roebourne or both in the near future, when can the people in those areas expect that a television service will be established.


Mr Lynch - The Acting PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable members question:

(1)   The seventh stage television station to be established at Dampier will also provide a service to Karratha.

(2)   and (3) The Australian Broadcasting Control Board is currently examining the possibility of providing a service to Roebourne by making use of the programme relay, channel which is to feed the station at Dampier. Until this investigation is completed and a report and recommendation is furnished to me by the Board, I will not be in a position to comment upon the likelihood of a television service being provided for Roebourne.

National Service (Question No. 5181)


Mr Garrick (BATMAN, VICTORIA) asked the Minister for

Labour and National Service, upon notice:

(1)   How many young men called up for national service have refused to co-operate.

(2)   How many of these have been arrested and gaoled.

(3)   Who authorises the selection of these men for arrest and prosecution.

(4)   If he authorises this selection, on what grounds and by what method is the selection made.

(5)   If the Commonwealth Police are allowed to use their discretion, does this mean that they are making political decisions and he is abdicating his ministerial responsibility to the Parliament and to the community.


Mr Lynch - The answer to the honourable members question is as follows:

(1)   and (2) For various reasons men may fail to report for national service on the date requiredbut may subsequently comply with the appropriate provision of the National Service Act.

In the most recent Review of the National Service Scheme, which I released last year, 1 noted that in the 12 months to 30th June 1971, only, 2 men had persisted in their refusal to comply and had been sentenced to imprisonment. In the subsequent 6 months to 31st December 1971, only 1 man refused to comply and was sentenced to imprisonment. (3), (4) and (5) The circumstances in which men become liable to prosecution were set out in answer to Senate Question No. 1699 (Hansard of 1st December 1971, page 2227). Prosecutions are initiated in all such cases and brought to finality in accordance with the provisions of the National Service Act and due legal process. In this there is and can be no selectivity.

Handicapped Children (Question No. 5227)


Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for

Social Services, upon notice:

In what circumstances are persons over 21 years of age excluded from the provisions of the Handicapped Children (Assistance) Act.


Mr Wentworth - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

A person who had attained the age of 21 years prior to commencing to receive approved training would not be a 'handicapped child' within the meaning of the Handicapped Children (Assistance) Act and would therefore not come within the provisions of that Act.

Social Services: Widows (Question No. 5242)


Mr Kennedy asked the Minister for

Social Services, upon notice:

(1)   What was the number of (a) Class A, (b) Class B and (c) all widows who were eligible for the widow pensioners training scheme in 1969-70 and 1970-71.

(2)   What number and percentage of these (a) applied for the Scheme, (b) were accepted, (c) commenced training, (d) completed training and (e) were placed in employment.

(3)   What number and percentage of those who applied were not accepted and what were the general categories of grounds on which these applications were not accepted.

(4)   What number and percentage of those accepted for training had had partial or full (a) professional training, (b) commercial/clerical training, (c) craft or trade training and (d) training of any other kind, specifying details.

(5)   What number and percentage bad had no vocational training of any kind.

(6)   Will he provide details of the education qualifications of those accepted for training showing what numbers and percentages of these had had (a) primary education only, (b) secondary education to (i) second, (ti) third, (Ki) fourth, (iv) fifth and (v) sixth year and (c) tertiary education Of (i) one year, (ii) 2, (iii) 3, (iv) 4 and (v) 5 years or more.

(7)   What number and percentage of the widows accepted for training (a) had (i) no children, (ii) one child, (iii) 2, (iv) 3, (v) 4 and (vi) 5 or more children and (b) were receiving supplementary assistance.

(8)   What number and percentage of the widows Accepted in (a) each State and Territory and (b) the Commonwealth for training were living in (i) metropolitan and (ii) non-metropolitan areas.

(9)   What number and percentage of all the women accepted for training were (a) less than (i) 30, (ii) 40, (iii) SO, (iv) 60 and (b) over 60 years of age, and what was the average age.

(10)   What number and percentage of those accepted for training (a) were given (i) part-time or (ii) full-time training, (b) undertook courses by correspondence and (c) were given (0 refresher training or (ii) training as a new skill or occupation.

(11)   What are the categories of occupations for which trained widows have been found positions and what are the numbers and percentages in each category.

(12)   What has been the cost to the Commonwealth of the training scheme in (a) each and (b) eli of the years since the inception, excluding administrative costs.

(13)   How many widows were granted (a) a $4 per week training allowance, (b) the $5 per week living away from home allowance, (c) tuition fees, (d) the cost of fares to and from the place of training and (e) the allowance of up to S80 for books, equipment, appliances, etc., in the years 1969-70 and 1970-71.

(14)   What was the cost to the Commonwealth in respect of these grants in each of those years.

(15)   How many widows in each of those years were given (a) loans for items to enable them to engage in outside employment and (b) loans of up to $400 for equipment for employment in their own homes.

(16)   What has been the average loan, of each kind in each of the years.

(17)   What was the total expenditure for each type of loan in each of the years.

(18)   On what date was the training scheme for widows introduced and what have been the total numbers of (a) all widows, (b) class A and (c) class fi widows who (i) applied for training, (ii) were accepted, (iii) were rejected, (iv) commenced training, (v) completed training and (vi) were placed in employment

(19)   What sum was (a) allocated and (b) expended on advertising the scheme in 1969-70 and 1970-71 and in what ways has this money been spent

(2)   What other methods were used to advertise the scheme.


Mr Wentworth - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The training scheme for widow pensioners is available to any widow in receipt of a Class A or Class B widow's pension. It was introduced in September 1968 for the purpose of assisting widow pensioners who wished to do so, to equip themselves to undertake full or part-time employment. There is no compulsion on a recipient of a widow's pension to undergo training or to accept employment on its completion.

It was never expected that large numbers of widows would seek training under the scheme for a variety of reasons including family commitments, slate of health, age, availability of suitable training or the fact that the widow may prefer to use a previously acquired skill when this is permitted by her domestic situation.

The number receiving training and also the number who have entered employment and relinquish their pension on completion of training have exceeded the Government's earlier expectations.

(1)   All widows in receipt of Class A or Class B pensions, are eligible to apply for acceptance through the Training Scheme for Widow Pensioners.

The number of widow pensioners eligible to apply were:

(2)

 

(3)   The numbers and percentages of widow pensioners whose applications for training have either lapsed, been withdrawn or rejected are as follows:

 

Very few cases are actually rejected. The normal procedure is for an application to discuss her training proposal with one of the Departments' vocational counsellors. After these counselling interviews applicants often choose not to proceed with their applications because they consider, on reflection, that domestic or other circumstances present a serious barrier to study, they do not have the necessary entrance qualifications to undertake the course they had nominated, or suitable courses are unavailable from the training institutions in their local area. (4), (5.), (6), (8) and (11) These statistics are not kept by the Department.

(7)   Regarding parts (A) (ii) to (a) (vi) and (b). detailed statistics of this nature are not kept by the Department However, the numbers and percentages of widows accepted for training with (a) no children and (b) one or more children are:

 

(9)

 

(10)   Regarding (a) and (c),° detailed statistics of this nature are not kept by the Department. The numbers and percentages of widows who completed correspondence courses during this 2 year period were:

 

(12)

 

(13)   and (14)

 

(15), (16) and (17)

 

(18)   The training scheme for widow pensioners was introduced on 27th September 1968. Cumulative figures to 29th February1972 are:

 

(19)   The amounts allocated for and expended on advertising and publicising the Training Scheme for Widow Pensioners are included in the overall amounts relating to the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service and separate figures are not available. However, during 1969-70 an amount of $1,026 was spent on printing leaflets for distribution to all current Class A and Class B widow pensioners throughout the Commonwealth.

(20)   The following methods were, and still are, being used to advertise the Training Scheme:

(a)   A leaflet giving brief details of the Training Scheme, and including an application form. is sent to all widows on grant of Class A or Class B widow's pension. In addition, several distributions of this leaflet have been, made to all current Class A and Class B widow pensioners;

(b)   Widows' organisations, service clubs and welfare organisations have been provided with details of the Training Scheme;

(c)   Feature stories and case histories have been provided to the Press for publication - particularly to editors of women's magazines and feature writers of the women's sections of the daily newspapers;

(d)   Advertisements in metropolitan and country' newspapers;

(e)   Where possible, Departmental vocational counsellors visit the larger country centres both to advertise the Training Scheme through the Press, radio and, occasionally, television, and to interview applicants for training;

(f)   Widows who will shortly lose their eligibility for Class A widow's pension and who do not possess eligibility for the Class B category are invited to apply for training;

(g)   Training institutions, both Government and private, have been circularised with details of the Training Scheme and provided with application forms; and

(h)   Officers of my Department are available to give talks to interested groups concerning the Training Scheme.

Age Pensions (Question No. 5278)


Mr Hayden asked the Minister for

Social Services, upon notice:

(1)   What sum has been allocated in 1971-72 for age pensions, exclusive of wife's allowance, children's allowance and other ancillary benefits.

(2)   How many age pensioners were drawing (a) full rate age pension at (i) married and (ii) standard rate and (b) reduced pension at (i) married and (ii) standard rate in 1970-71.


Mr Wentworth - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Section 5 of the National Welfare Fund Act, 1943-52, appropriates moneys required to pay age pensions and associated allowances at the rates authorised by the Social Services Act 1947- 72. The amount required in 1971-72 for this purpose has been estimated as $674m of which approximately $65 7m is expected to be spent on age pensions, exclusive of wife's allowance, children's allowance and other ancillary benefits. (2)At 30th June 1971, the numbers were as follows -

(a)   (i) 236,112

(ii)   394,353

(b)   (i) 74,658

(ii)   102,588







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