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Wednesday, 28 April 1971

Senator FITZGERALD (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate advise me now, or can he have a statement pre pared, on the progress made in response to the Prime Minister's austerity appeal to the nation to cut costs? Can he advise us, or can he seek information, about Government expenditure in grants to the States and other Government bodies since that appeal? I also ask him to include, in any statement he may make, known or proposed increases in doctors' and dentists' fees, hospital costs and private school fees, and increases by State bodies including the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board in Sydney whose rates, it is suggested, are to go up by 40 per cent in Sydney and Wollongong? What benefits to the ordinary citizen of Australia have resulted from the appeal by the Prime Minister? Would it be true to say that inflation has increased further since that appeal?

Senator Sir KENNETHANDERSONI shall direct the honourable senator's question to the Treasurer. I am sure that the depth of the question and all its implications will involve tremendous research in order to provide an answer. All I can say is that I will undertake to refer the honourable senator's question to the Treasurer. It is a question that canvasses projected or possible increases in rates, etc. In fact it canvasses almost every conceivable thing. I will leave it to the Treasury to see what sort of an answer the honourable senator can be given.

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