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Tuesday, 16 May 1972
Page: 1656

Senator KEEFFE - Is the Minister representing the Minister for External Territories aware that one contributing factor to cost of living increases in Port Moresby is a recent increase of 12c a trip in bus charges, and an increase of 10 per cent in the price of bread? Is the Minister aware that the total wage of the urban worker is only $8.50 a week? Can the Minister inform the Parliament of the reasons for galloping inflation in Papua New Guinea, particularly in view of the fact that the Australian Government still has almost complete control over the economy of the Territory?

Senator WRIGHT - I would have to confirm from the Minister for External Territories that there is a situation in the Territory that properly could be described as galloping inflation before subscribing to the honourable senator's request for an explanation. I am unable to confirm the figures which he says represent the increases in bus fares and the price of bread. Generally the observation is sound that if there is a general claim for an increase in all costs, including wage costs, the combination of those costs inevitably will result in a series of price rises. It is a vain and fatuous exercise for Australian Labor Party senators to protest against the inexorable result, of silly demands for artificial cost increases.

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