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Tuesday, 8 November 1977
Page: 3118

Mr Willis (GELLIBRAND, VICTORIA) asked the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, upon notice, on 20 September 1977:

(   1) How many persons were registered as unemployed in the Employment Office area of Greensborough, Victoria, at the end of (a) August 1975 (b) August 1976 and (c) August 1977.

(2)   What percentage of the persons was (a) males and (b) females (i) under 2 1 years of age and (ii) 2 1 years of age and over.

(3)   What were the principal work categories of the persons registered as unemployed.

Mr Street - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: (1), (2) and (3) In view of the volume of requests for detailed labour market information and the time involved in extracting and preparing such information, I have arranged for local offices of the Commonwealth Employment Service, when requested by a member of parliament, to provide readily available raw data which may be relevant to the question. I suggest that the honourable member contact the Officer-in-charge of the CES office concerned.

Australian Wool Corporation: Interest on Borrowings (Question No. 1697)

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Primary Industry:

(1)   Why does the Australian Wool Corporation have to pay 1 1.73 per cent interest on money borrowed to support the reserve price scheme, while other statutory commodity bodies pay almost 2 per cent less.

(2)   As the Government guarantee provides a no risk situation for any lender, it is considered that the interest rate should be lower.

Mr Sinclair - The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(   1 ) Presumably the honourable member is referring to the generally lower rate of interest charges on funds advanced by the Rural Credits Department of the Reserve Bank, in relation to particular current commercial overdraft rates.

It is necessary to bear in mind that the Australian Wool Corporation does not acquire and market a product on a seasonal basis, returning the proceeds of a season's production within 12 months. Some of the wool purchased by the Wool Corporation under its reserve price policy has had to be held for more than three years.

The role of the Rural Credits Department of the Reserve Bank is the provision of short-term credit for seasonal finance during the disposal of a season's crop or other produce. Accordingly, loans are limited by statute to a period of twelve months.

The nature of the Wool Corporation's activities are such that it has been considered that advances required by the Corporation would not fall within the statutory provisions for Rural Credits Department advances.

(2)   The Government has guaranteed repayment of principal and interest on loans obtained from the banks, thus enabling the Corporation to secure a rate of interest that is less than would be expected to apply for a private borrower (having regard to the magnitude of the amounts involved and the timing of repayments). That rate of interest has been applied also to borrowings made by the Corporation from both Government and grower sources.

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