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Tuesday, 21 March 1972
Page: 701

Senator DEVITT asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:

(1)   Will the Government undertake regular sur veys of the type conducted in a number of overseas countries, to determine areas of depression in the economy and enable measures to be taken to induce a better balance in the economy.

(2)   Does the use of overall percentages to express undesirable economic patterns tend to overlook serious economic problems that can arise in regional areas which may, be vulnerable to seasonal or market variations.

(3)   What is the Government doing to anticipate and assess economic problems such as those which are now causing great concern in the State of Tasmania.


The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The statistical and other information collected by the various Commonwealth departments and instrumentalities, as well as that made available to the Government from other sources, is not restricted to conditions in general but extends to particular industries, sectors, and regional areas.

In assessing and applying economic policies, the Government does not rely only on overall averages, but takes account of conditions in particular regional areas as well as in broad sectors of the economy and particular industries. This has, for example, been evidenced by the Commonwealth's provision of funds to the States for employment-creating activities in non-metropolitan areas. This scheme is a specific response to a particular problem having significant associated social and economic aspects.

A further example of this kind of action has been the measures implemented through the rural reconstruction scheme. In addition to these measures, an apple and pear stabilisation scheme has, with Commonwealth assistance, been brought into operation.

At the same time, it needs to be recognised that there are constitutional limitations on the extent to which the Commonwealth is empowered to adopt policies which could be construed as discriminating in favour of particular States or parts of States.

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