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Friday, 29 October 1920

Mr JACKSON (Bass) .- The most entertaining couple of hours the House has had this session was experienced the other afternoon when the Minister (Mr. Groom) submitted this motion. Practically every honorable member who spoke asked that money should be spent upon mills in his own electorate. As thisis not a proposition to erect new mills, but is simply a project to spend £60,000 in the extension of an existing plant, I shall support the proposal of the Minister, and, of course, vote against the amendment.

Mr Riley - Why confine the Public Works . Committee to one particular locality?

Mr JACKSON - Because it is deemed absolutely necessary to extend the-present mills. A proposition to erect new mills would be an entirely different proposition. If such a project were put forward, I would immediately advance the claims of Launceston, which, when Geelong was selected as the site of the Commonwealth Woollen Mills, was the Committee's second choice.

Mr Atkinson - In reality Launceston was its first choice.

Mr JACKSON - Well, I am prepared to accept the verdict of the Committee which chose Geelong after inspecting no fewer than thirty-three possible sites throughout Australia.

Mr Tudor - Why does the honorable member say Launceston was the second site favoured ? Did Mr. Smail say so ?

Mr JACKSON - Yes. For the benefit of honorable members who take a delight in despising the little island, I would remind them that we have ample industrial power available, and are not dependent upon coal supplies. We have the water power, and it has already been availed of as a great asset; but it will become far more so in the future. Industries are being conducted upon a very big scale. There is, for example, the Electrolytic Zinc Company, in Hobart, which employs 1,000 hands. That is an entirely new industry. Cadbury's and other world-famed firms have inaugurated extensive factories also. With respect to the suitability of Launceston as a site for Commonwealth woollen mills, this fact should be sufficient, namely, that Messrs. Kelsall and Kemp, of Yorkshire, who are among the largest manufacturers in the world, are now erecting woollen mills at Launceston, involving an expenditure of £200,000 upon plant, machinery, and buildings.

Mr Riley - But you have no coal there.

Mr JACKSON - We do not need coal. Our industries are freed from coal troubles. Despite all the strikes and the shipping hold-ups of the past few years, never once has the electric energy been turned off in Tasmania. I am pleased to hear so many honorable members advocating the claims of Australian industries, and I trust that the motion will be agreed to.

Mr Charlton - I desire to amend my amendment by leaving out all the words after " or," with a view to inserting, in lieu thereof, the words -

Alternatively, the erection of suitable woollen mills at Canberra, New South Wales.

Amendment amended accordingly.

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