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Thursday, 15 March 1973
Page: 604

Mr DUTHIE (WILMOT, TASMANIA) - I wish to ask a question of the Treasurer. In view of the fact that the Government has decided against the setting up of a rural bank as such, can the Treasurer indicate whether the other proposition - an enlarged and reconstructed Commonwealth Development Bank - will be given effect to very soon? Will the structure of this new Development Bank be so geared as to provide long term low-interest loans to rural industry to assist it in its constant battle for viability against a multitude of economic enemies?

Mr CREAN (MELBOURNE PORTS, VICTORIA) (Treasurer) - I say categorically that I believe there are enough financial institutions in Australia already. What is required is sensible adaptation to meet the needs of those who require credit. Having listened to the previous question, it astonishes me that, after 23 years of such great government, rural reconstruction of the magnitude sought by the Opposition is required. The task of any government, as my colleague the Minister for Northern Development indicated, is to do justice to all of those groups which are seeking credit. Unfortunately there are always more seekers of credit than suppliers of it. Therefore one has to have a sensible rationing of it. My belief is that the Development Bank as it was set up has not fulfilled its objectives. One of the Government's early tasks will be to expand and widen its functions and to use it for making credit available at the lowest possible terms to those who seek it, both rural and otherwise. I find it arguable at the moment as to whether there is justice in home builders in a country town having to pay 7 per cent interest while other people in the same area think they should be able to obtain finance at 5 per cent.

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