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Friday, 20 July 1917

Mr HUGHES (Bendigo) (Prime Minister and Attorney-General) . - I am prepared, to agree to the amendment provided that its effect is to give the Commission a greater scope for the exercise of its discretion. I do not contemplate the erection of temporary structures which will cover all the wheat. Had I done so I would have come down with a measure which would- have been sufficient for that purpose. It is obvious that a temporary structure that will cover 1,000,000 tons can be erected at a lower cost than a permanent silo to contain 100,000 tons. I do not say that I shall not come down to the House subsequently, ' if necessary, and ask this Parliament to do something more in regard to protecting wheat. If I found such additional storage necessary, I should be wrong not tq> do so; but when I accept this amendment I do not contemplate adding to the liability or the - scope of the Commission so far as expenditure is concerned. I merely propose to allow it to cut off some of the silos in the drier districts, and erect in their place structures which will give reasonably ample protection, thus spreading the protection over a larger quantity of wheat. Though I am desirous of meeting the views of honorable members, I do not wish it to be understood that we are abandoning the principle of silo construction. For seven-eighths of the wheat silos will be provided. In regard to the other one-eighth, I do npt see any reason why we cannot get value for our money, and just as good results in certain districts, by the system proposed by the honorable member for Wakefield. We can very well allow the Commission this extra discretion.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 8 -

For the purpose of facilitating the construction and erection of silos in pursuance pi this Act, the Commonwealth may from time to time advance to the States a sum not exceeding in the whole the sum of £2,850,000.

Mr Tudor - I raise a point of order as to whether this money has been appropriated by message from His Excellency the Governor. We ought to be careful, in dealing with a Bill which appropriates money, to see that it is preceded by a message from the Crown recommending the appropriation for a particular purpose; and the larger the amount involved the more careful we should be. In this case we are embarking on a huge undertaking with the smallest amount of information ever submitted to honorable members. We are to find the money, the States are to spend it, and the farmers are to pay for it; so, of course, it is easy enough for us to agree.

Mr Hughes - This money comes out of war loan, which has already been recommended. Parliament is now asked to say whether, out of the war loan which has already been recommended, this particular sum shall be appropriated for the purpose mentioned in the Bill. I think that the procedure is quite regular.

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