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Friday, 20 July 1917

Mr TUDOR (Yarra) .- I think we should have from the Minister in charge of the Bill some further information as to the style of silo which is . likely to be constructed.

Mr Higgs - This Bill is sufficiently important to warrant the presence of a quorum. [Quorum formed.]

Mr TUDOR - The Prime Minister should inform the Committee whether the silos are to be constructed of reinforced concrete. If that is the intention a tremendous quantity of cement will be required. Judging from the report, the most economical style of silo will be one with a capacity of 50,000 bushels, and as the scheme is to handle 50,000,000 bushels, about 1,000 silos will be required. In view of the magnitude of the contract, the Government might well consider whether it would not be better for them to purchase outright the whole of the cement required, or purchase cement works. Honorable members may argue that the Commonwealth will not spend this money, and that ultimately it will have to be found by the wheat farmers, but we shall be failing in our duty if we do not use every precaution to see that the money is expended to the best possible advantage. The farmers will conclude that the whole scheme has been carefully considered by the Federal Parliament, and will feel assured that they are not paying too much for it. The State Governments will regard the scheme as having been practically recommended by this Legislature. Already a rumour is current that the style of silo, and the contractors to carry out the work, have been chosen.

Mr Hughes - That is not correct.

Mr TUDOR - I am glad to have that assurance from the Prime Minister.

Mr Riley - We have no control over the work if the State Governments carry it out.

Mr TUDOR - The ' Commonwealth Government has to raise the money.

Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - And the Commonwealth will have control.

Mr TUDOR - Yes, the Commonwealth will have absolute control. There is a big responsibility on Parliament in dealing with this measure, and I ask the Prime Minister to give the Committee the fullest information in his possession.

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