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Tuesday, 9 April 1946

Mr FORDE - I fully realize the importance of the Hume Pipe Company's works at Regent's Park, and I shall give sympathetic consideration to the honorable member's request. A sub-committee of Cabinet, under the chairmanship of the Minister for the Interior, has been appointed to investigate the whole matter of accommodation for Commonwealth departments and for the services in the capital cities. It is the desire of the Government to vacate as many buildings as possible, so that they may revert to private owners or to private tenants.

During the war, many people were dispossessed of their accommodation, and the Government wishes to return it to them. On the other hand, certain valuable equipment of the fighting services must be stored, and Commonwealth departments must continue to function. The Government has prepared a building programme for the various capital cities which, when completed, will enable Commonwealth departments to vacate many buildings which they now occupy.

Mr Morgan - But employment is the paramount consideration.

Mr FORDE - I recognize that.

Mr Morgan -Will the Minister hold up this proposed resumption until the matter has been inquired into?

Mr.FORDE. - I wish to confer with the Minister for the Interior on the subject of the Regent's Park resumption. Last week, a conference was held between representatives of the Department of the Interior, the Air Force and the Army to discuss accommodation for the storing of equipment. I shall go into the matter raised by the honorable member, and furnish a reply later.

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