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Thursday, 8 November 1973
Page: 1644

Senator GIETZELT (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the AttorneyGeneral aware that a number of companies which submitted applications to the Prices Justification Tribunal for a price increase in their commodities have withdrawn their applications because they became aware that there would be a public examination of their price item fixing structure, their profitability and their efficiency? Was one of the bodies concerned the Dairy Industry Council which sought a 5 per cent increase in wholesale butter prices? Can the Minister inform the Senate whether the Prices Justification Tribunal is now beginning to exercise an important restraint on price rises and that it has developed as a major tool in the Government's light against inflation?

Senator MURPHY -I understand that the answer to the honourable senator's first question is yes. As to the second, presumably the fact that there would be a public examination would be a factor in the determination of the companies to withdraw their applications. As to the third question, I understand that the answer is yes, the Dairy Industry Council was one. As to the last question, yes, the Prices Justification Tribunal is becoming an important instrument in dealing with inflation. It is true that the limitations of the Tribunal have been pointed out, I think in this chamber by report, and elsewhere. Notwithstanding those limitations on the Tribunal's powers, the Tribunal itself is obviously starting to have some effect on what would otherwise be increases in prices adding to inflation.

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