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Wednesday, 19 September 1973
Page: 1228

Mr ANTHONY (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Prime Minister whether he is aware that unemployment in metropolitan areas totals 38,000, that this rate is comparable with last year's high level despite the much heralded reduction in national unemployment, that it is equal to the 19S2 figure and is the highest for the last 5 years. In view of the serious and harsh economic measures taken this year and in the Budget against country people and country industries, which will no doubt further aggravate the employment situation, has the Government made a decision yet on a continuation of the rural unemployment scheme? The Prime Minister will be aware that he has publicly said that a decision will be made on this matter before the end of this month and that he will be conferring with the Premiers.

Mr WHITLAM - There has been no decision made yet. I do hot remember saying that we would be conferring with the Premiers about it. There has been no action by the

Government which has in any way increased unemployment in any area or industry. In fact, this constant allegation that the Australian Government has done something to the disadvantage of rural industries stems from the fact that we have ended some of the feather bedding of the Pitt Street and Collins Street farmers. There is no genuine rural producer who has other than benefited from our policies.

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