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Wednesday, 11 December 1974
Page: 3368

Senator EVERETT (TASMANIA) - I address my question to the Minister for Agriculture in his capacity as representative of the Treasurer. I draw attention to the continuing spate of publicity in the Tasmanian media with respect to the financial difficulties currently, and temporarily I understand, of the Tasmanian Government which are of such an extent that, as I indicated in a similar question last week, teachers will not receive their holiday pay when they leave work before Christmas. I ask the Minister Has any request been made by the Tasmanian Government to the Australian Government for temporary assistance in its liquidity difficulty. If so, what is the position? If not, does the Australian Government stand ready to enter into discussions with the Tasmanian Government to see whether there is any proper way in which it can assist that State Government?

Senator WRIEDT -I am aware of the Press comment concerning this matter. Senator Everett, of course, raised it some 2 weeks ago. There has been no request to the Federal Treasury from the Tasmanian Premier, in respect of assistance over any liquidity problems that may apply in the State Treasury. It is possible under the Loan Council arrangement for a State to draw on treasury bills at nominal rates of interest where it finds that it has a liquidity problem. This mechanism is available to any State at its discretion. If this position is correct, why the Tasmanian Government has not requested any particular assistance I cannot say, but I certainly could give the assurance that if such a request were forthcoming my colleague the Treasurer would be only too willing to arrange immediate consultation with the Tasmanian authorities if they felt that that was necessary.

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