Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 21 February 1980
Page: 197

Mr UREN (REID, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the Treasurer aware that the national accounts show that expenditure on dwelling rent has increased from 13.7 per cent of total private final consumption expenditure in 1974-75 to 17.3 per cent in 1978-79? What has caused this large increase? Does the increase mean that households now have less to spend on other items, so reducing their standard of living and reducing the general level of economic activity?

Mr HOWARD (BENNELONG, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) -Without checking the national accounts I cannot say at this moment whether the percentages quoted by the honourable gentleman are correct. I have no reason to believe that they are not correct, if he has given thought to the preparation of the question. He has asked me to draw the conclusion that those figures represent a reduction in economic activity, particularly in the housing area. I would have thought that the honourable gentleman would be aware that in that area in particular over the past year or more the level of activity has increased significantly. This has been due in part to the very high levels of lending for housing emanating from financial institutions, particularly the banks and building societies, where the levels of lending have been very high by the standards of recent years.

As I understand it, and this is subject to precise checking, the indicators show that home ownership, which has always been a very important and sensitive thing to Australians throughout the country, has remained at extremely high levels. The honourable gentleman will be as aware as anybody else in this House that the greatest problems remaining to be solved in relation to people desiring to rent, to build or to buy existing houses are the continuing problems of inflation. Of course, the Government's position on that is quite well known. We will continue to address our minds to that situation.

Suggest corrections