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Thursday, 19 September 1974
Page: 1241

Senator MISSEN (VICTORIA) - Is the Minister representing the Minister for Housing and Construction aware of the statement made this week by Mr John Pietersen, the National President of the Housing Industry Association, that a dangerously low level of housing construction exists resulting from the severely restricted financial policies of the Australian Government? Does the Minister agree with Mr Pietersen 's further criticism that the recent release of funds for housing will in no way sufficiently restore the position or arrest the virtual collapse of the private sector of the industry? What steps does this Government now propose to take to restore the home building rate to the real level of community need?

Senator CAVANAGH - I refer the honourable senator to an answer given to a similar question by the Minister for Housing in another place this morning. The Minister indicated that last year's building rate in housing construction was somewhere near a record. This was because last year the agencies built all that was possible with the manpower and materials available. It was because of the soaring costs and the shortage of materials that some restriction was placed upon building construction in order to obtain some rationalisation in future building. The position has now arisen where there is some easing. More manpower facilities are available and building materials are becoming more freely available at the present time. With the decline in multi-storey construction it is hoped to increase the building rate. The Minister and Cabinet have considered the question of assistance. Where the need is greatest to prevent unemployment from time to time money will be made available for housing construction. While we do not anticipate a great decline this year the need for housing has increased every year since Europeans came to Australia. Honourable senators will see the statement that some 922 houses are needed for Aborigines in New South Wales. The Minister has the position well in hand and will do what is possible to meet the housing needs of these people.

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