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Tuesday, 1 May 1973
Page: 1480

Mr BURY (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Treasurer: In view of the marked improvement in Australia's balance of payments and the growth in our international reserves, has the Government given any consideration to permitting the Asian Development Bank and also the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development to raise loans and issue their bonds on the Australian money market?

Mr CREAN - This matter was raised a day or two ago at the meeting of the Asian Development Bank from which I have just returned. It was pointed out at that meeting - I might say that the previous Government pursued the policy - that it has not been the custom for Australia to allow a floating in Australia by foreign associations of what can best be described as public bonds. It may well be that in the light of changed circumstances consideration could be given to changing that policy.

The countries associated with the Asian Development Bank met to consider the augmenting of capital funds and Australia has agreed to that proposal. Basically, I believe that the problem of the Bank is not the shortage of funds so much as the lack, on the part of those who want to use the funds that are available, of technical expertise to put them to fruitful use. There is still a long period between the time when approval is given to a project and the time that the project takes for fulfilment. That seems to me to be the greatest problem at the moment in international aid arrangements, whether they are by the Asian Development Bank or the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. We have to work out better techniques for meeting what are real needs and matching them with the capacity of other people through technical, material, managerial and other assistance to put programs into action. However I am prepared to look at the matter to which the honourable member has referred.

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