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Wednesday, 19 April 1972
Page: 1773

Mr DRURY (RYAN, QUEENSLAND) - I ask the Minister for

Labour and National Service whether there has been any improvement in the rate of productivity growth, in view of the importance of increasing productivity in order to win the battle against inflation?

Mr LYNCH (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) (Minister for Labour and National Service) - As the honourable gentleman suggests, this is certainly a matter of great national significance, particularly at the present time, because the House will well appreciate that one of the essential features of the inflationary problem that we are currently facing is that money incomes, particularly wages and salaries, are far outstripping any reasonable estimate of productivity growth. As I recall the figures, the productivity increase during the year 1970-71 compared with the previous year was only 1.4 per cent and that, of course, is an appalling level of productivity growth, having regard to the essential nature of the inflationary spiral.

But I can say to the honourable gentleman that the Government certainly recognises the importance of this question. A wide-ranging series of actions has been taken by the Government. I think of the productivity group movement which currently involves some 5,000 undertakings in 230 groups and of the work of the Productivity Promotion Council which, of course, is the spearhead seeking to inculcate productivity consciousness throughout Australia. This is not to overlook the question of the restoration of the investment allowance, the Government's policy in relation to research and developmental grants and other activities of that type, and also the restrictive trade practices legislation. The matter is one of concern, but I am confident that this year a renewed and stronger rate of productivity growth will certainly contribute directly to our productivity performance, and I would expect to see a marked lift during the course of the year.

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