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Tuesday, 9 April 1946

Mr Francis s asked the Minister for Works. and Housing - upon notice -

1.   In view of the nation-wide housing delay caused by the continued acute shortage of building materials, what steps, if any, has the Government taken to secure supplies of building timber from Canada, Russia or other countries?

2.   With a view to encouraging the importationof timber to relieve this shortage, will the Government urgently consider a reduction nf duties on timber or their temporary removal ?

Mr Lazzarini (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Works and Housing) - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   At the time lend-lease- and mutual aid ceased to operate the Government arranged to purchase for cash orders then current in the United States and Canada in order to provide continuity of supplies coming forward to Australia until such time us normal imports could be resumed. In addition, during 1945, the issue of import licences was approved in those cases where satisfactory evidence of ability to arrange firm contracts for supplies of overseas timber during 1946 or earlier could lie submitted. As a result of this action, a number of licences has been issued and supplies have been coming forward for several months. Approval has been given to steps being taken to purchase up to 100 million superficial feet, of timber from Russia, but there are numerous difficulties, including an enormous home demand, in obtaining supplies from this source. Action is still in progress. Tv.vtensive inquiries have been made both by Government and commercial interests in an endeavour to arrange for supplies from Sweden and other countries.

2.   This matter was referred by the Government to the Tariff Board for inquiry and my colleague, the honorable the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs, informs me that the matter is receiving urgent attention.

Westcourt Aerodrome.

Mr Adermann (MARANOA, QUEENSLAND) n asked the Minister for

Civil Aviation - upon notice -

1.   What was the cost of constructing the aerodrome at Westcourt, situated between Miles and Condamine, Queensland.?

2.   What is the Government's intention regarding its use?

Mr Drakeford - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   The aerodrome constructed for the Royal Australian Air Force near Condamine cost npnroximately £93,000.

2.   One runway only is being retained for civil aviation purposes.

Meat Industry : Sale of Frozen Meat at Melbourne; Wholesale Meat Prices at Melbourne ; Export Prices.

Mr McEwen n asked -the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice. -

1.   ls any frozen meat held in cool stores for export purposes being made available to Melbourne butchers?

2.   Has any moat now being made available, to Melbourne butchers from cold storage been held in cold storage for more than a year?

3.   If any such meat has been held for more than a year, what is the greatest period of time any of this meat has been held in the store?

4.   Has any of the frozen meat now being made available to Melbourne butchers been purchased at prices which wwould enable it to be sold without loss at its value for export?

5.   If any such meat is now being sold at the prevailing ceiling price for local "consumption, who is gaining the advantage of the difference in price between export value and local wholesale ceiling price? (!. ls it a fact that there are wholesale butchers who have had frozen ment released to them by the Food Control authorities in Melbourne and who have not yet received an account for it, and who, therefore, are unaware of the price they will be charged?

Mr Scully - The answers to the honorable member's questions arc as follows : -

1.   Meat prepared in accordance with united Kingdom specifications and placed in store for export to the United Kingdom was not released for local consumption in Melbourne until Friday, the 29th March, 1 940, when owing to the shortage of refrigerated trucks for the movement of surplus meat from New South Wales, the comparatively small quantity of 100 tons of meat was released. The shortage of refrigerated trucks was occasioned by the loading of oversea, vessels in Sydney. The release in Melbourne was made against meat taken in store in New South Wales at prices related to local ceiling prices and which would have been moved to Melbourne but for unusual circumstance's. For the week ended the 30th March, 1940, the following quantities were placed in store in various works in New South Wales.--


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