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Thursday, 15 May 1924

Mr BAYLEY (Oxley) .- Reference has been made, during the debate, to the fact that members of the Public Accounts Committee- are at present preparing a report dealing with the Royal Naval College at Jervis Bay and the Royal Military College at Duntroon, and it has been suggested that the report may have some bearing upon the proposal before the Blouse. It is quite true that we are taking evidence concerning the two institutions mentioned, but the investigation has no bearing at all upon this proposal to erect additional buildings at the Flinders Naval Depot.

Mr Charlton - Nobody said that it would.

Mr BAYLEY - The fact that the Leader of the Opposition asked that consideration of the motion should be held over pending the presentation of the Public Accounts Committee report on the two College;: referred to, suggested that it had.

Mr Charlton - I thought that the report of the Public Accounts Committee as to the accommodation at Jervis Bay might help honorable members to come to a decision in regard to this proposed work.

Mr BAYLEY - It is well known that the present enrolment at Jervis Bay is only about 40, whereas there is accommodation in the cadet barracks for 120 naval cadets. The lads there are undergoing special training to prepare them for certain positions in the Australian Navy, while the naval ratings at the Flinders Depot are being trained for other positions in the Navy.

Mr Charlton - "Why could they not undergo that course of training under the same instructors?

Mr BAYLEY - If 120 men were sent from the Flinders depot to Jervis Bay, it would be necessary to duplicate the instructional staff there, for the training of the lower ratings. No economy would be effected at all. At the Flinders depot there is a staff for the training of 500 ratings. I want members clearly to understand that nothing will be gained by waiting for the report of the Public Accounts- Committee on the Jervis Bay Naval College. The question to be decided to-night is whether sufficient accommodation is to be provided for the naval ratings at the depot. The evidence attached to the report shows that, at the present time, it is below strength. Cap tain Sneyd, who is in charge of the training of the ratings there, has stated that, if we are to maintain the Australian Navy on an efficient basis, we should have at least 1,000 men in training. There is accommodation for 500, and at present there are 598 at the depot. The accommodation, therefore, is quite inadequate. Unless it is extended, further appointments cannot be made. More men should be entering the depot for training to take the places of men who leave the ships on the completion of their time. What we do to-night will probably affect the efficiency of the Australian Navy in two, three, or four years' time. If, by postponing consideration of this motion, we delay this urgent work, much valuable time will be lost. I hope that no honorable member will vote against the motion in the belief that the report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Jervis Bay Naval College will clarify the position. This proposal must be judged on its merits.

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