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Thursday, 20 May 1965

Senator MORRIS (Queensland) . - I apologise to honorable senators for taking time to speak on the Bill at this hour. In my maiden speech here I made a very strong plea for assistance to be given to people who were suffering because they were living in what I described as areas of maximum hardship. 1 believe that this legislation will do a great deal to assist those people. Their costs are very high. Speaking from memory, Senator Kennelly said that transport costs represented approximately 27 per cent, of the total cost of production. I think he was fairly close to the mark. The transport costs of people who live in extremity areas would be infinitely higher, as a percentage of the total cost of production, than those of people who live in areas close to the ports. For producers who live in a lot of the areas with which I am very intimately associated this Bill will mean a saving of up to 2s. a gallon in the price of petrol. It will mean a saving of almost the same amount in the price of dieselene which many of them use in vehicles. Therefore, this legislation will be a very positive and a major contribution to the easing of their burden.

I should like to make many more comments, but it is too late now to do so. I shall content myself with two. First, we talk a lot about northern development and we all mean what we say. I forecast that this legislation will do a lot towards developing the north. Freight costs have done much to keep people out of the northern areas, especially those that I know in Queensland. Secondly, I congratulate the Minister quite seriously upon the introduction of a very difficult piece of legislation. That has been acknowledged by all who have spoken on the subject, either in this chamber or in the other place. Having said that, and having said that I should like to say a lot more about it, and probably will on some future occasion. I most strongly support the Bill.

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