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Thursday, 21 February 1980
Page: 260

Mr HOWARD (Bennelong) (Treasurer) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to authorise borrowings of $3m by the Commonwealth to fund credit facilities for soldier settlers under the War Service Land Settlement Scheme. The States Grants (War Service Land Settlement) Act 1952 provides for financial assistance to the States in connection with the settlement of ex-servicemen on the land. Under terms determined by our colleague the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Nixon), the Commonwealth has provided in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania capital moneys for the acquisition and development of properties and for the making of advances to settlers for working capital and the acquisition of stock, plant and equipment. In New South Wales and Victoria such moneys have been provided by the State governments and Commonwealth involvement has been limited to sharing losses on a 50:50 basis. Queensland withdrew from the scheme in 1954.

War service credit facilities in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania have been provided by the Commonwealth through borrowings authorised by Loan (War Service Land Settlement) Acts brought down from time to time. The most recent loan Act was in 1 977 when $3m was authorised for this purpose. Tasmania no longer has any settlers in receipt of credit facilities and requirements in South Australia and Western Australia are declining and are expected to phase out over four or five years. Outstanding authority under the 1 977 Act will be insufficient to meet settlers' credit needs in 1980-81. The proposed amount of $3m is estimated as sufficient to cover the remainder of the program. Estimated expenditure in the year ahead and the level of actual expenditure in the previous year will be provided in the annual Budget in the ordinary way. I commend the Bill to honourable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr Scholes) adjourned.

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