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Wednesday, 17 October 1973
Page: 2260


Mr LYNCH (Flinders) - It is appropriate that the 4 Bills before the House be considered together. The Commonwealth Banks Bill 1973 provides that, at a date to be determined, Papua New Guinea will be excluded from the operation of the Act. This will facilitate the transfer of the greater part of the Papua New Guinea business of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation to a new Papua New Guinea Government Commercial Bank which is to be established. The Reserve Bank Bill 1973 provides for the withdrawal of the application of the Reserve Bank Act to Papua New Guinea. In addition, the Bill also provides, with retrospective effect from March 1971, for specific authority for the Rural Credits Department of the Reserve Bank of Australia to make loans to co-operative associations engaged in primary production.

The Papua New Guinea {Transfer of Banking Business) Bill 1973 allows for the transfer of certain assets and liabilities from the Reserve Bank of Australia to the Bank of Papua New Guinea, and from the Commonwealth Banking Corporation to the proposed new Papua New Guinea Government Commercial Bank. The Banking Bill 1973 allows the withdrawal of the application of the Australian Banking Act to Papua New Guinea. In short, the objective of the 4 Bills before the House is to transfer the control and supervision of banking in Papua New Guinea to the Government of Papua New Guinea and to pave the way for the establishment of a separate Papua New Guinea banking system and central bank.

Under the existing legislation the responsibility for the control and supervision of banking in Papua New Guinea resides of course with the Australian Government, and in particular with the Reserve Bank of Australia. The legislation before the House arises from the detailed examination undertaken by the Committee on Banking in Papua New Guinea established by the former Government. The Opposition supports the 4 Bills. We are aware that the provisions of the Bills have the complete support of the Papua New Guinea Government with which appropriately the details have been subject to full and detailed discussion. We recognise that it is the wish of the Papua New Guinea Government to bring into force on 1 November 1973 the Central Banking Ordinance and the Banks and Financial Institutions Ordinance, 'both of which have been recently passed by the Papua New Guinea House of Assembly. Accordingly we seek to co-operate with the Government to expedite the passage of all 4 Bills without delay.

The Chief Minister of Papua New Guinea in a speech to the University of Papua New Guinea on 19 March said:

There is a new Government in Papua New Guinea. For all practical purposes, we are already selfgoverning. My Government is responsible for the basic decisions that will shape the lives of Papua New Guinea's people. And this new Government is choosing new policies, suited to the needs of our people. In particular, we are moving away from past policies that emphasised economic growth as the basic goal. We are moving towards a more well-rounded program -one that has the basic aim of improving the lives of Papua New Guineans - not simply increasing the gross national product.

The Bills before the House which provide for a separate Papua New Guinea banking system, will facilitate the development of a banking and financial system appropriate to the policies of the Papua New Guinea Government and will ensure control by Papua New Guinea in the future development in that country. The Opposition parties support the 4 Bills before the House.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.







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