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Thursday, 24 November 1927

Mr SEABROOK - If my remarks were offensive, I withdraw them; but I still maintain that were it not for the leaders of the various trade unions there would not be so much unemployment as there now is. The leaders of the unions, supported, in many instances, by members of Parliament, are the cause of the present unemployment.

I am pleased that the Government proposes to increase from 5s. to 7s. 6d. per week the pension payable to the children of deceased soldiers. That is another indication that the Government recognizes its obligations in connexion with the dependents of our soldiers.

I agree with what the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) said in connexion with the payment of £10 per month to incapacitated soldiers. I have in mind a returned soldier in my electorate who, although he has suffered a double amputation below the knees, does not come within the scope of this pension. I cannot understand why men with double amputations are debarred from receiving this benefit. I hope that the Minister will take their case into consideration with a view to assisting them.

The Government has done well to provide a sum of £100,000 for the further education of the children of returned soldiers. All honorable members will agree with that provision.

On a number of occasions, I have drawn attention to the desirability of removing the Sandy Bay Rifle Range at Hobart. This range can be reached by tram from the Hobart Post Office in about seven minutes. It certainly is conveniently situated for those who practise shooting there, but, being in. the middle of a residential area, it is not regarded favourably by residents.. Not only does the existence of the range prevent the development of the surrounding district, but residents believe that it is also a source of danger. About three years ago when the Government contemplated removing the range, it asked the owner of the land to which it was proposed to remove the range to have the area surveyed and to submit plans to the department, together with the price he was prepared to accept. That was done; but for over two years nothing more was heard by the owner of the land from the Defence Department. Even.tually he asked me to take the matter up. I desire to place on record the letters I have received from him, and also the replies I have received from the Defence Department to the representations I made on his behalf. "Writing on the 27th November, 1926, Mr. Pretyman, the owner of the land, said -

It is just two years ago the Military De- 'partment requested me to have my property surveyed and send them a plan and also a price for the property. This I did at a cost of £30, and plan was forwarded to headquarters.

What I am complaining about is I have no answer, negative or affirmative, and, consequently, am at a standstill as regards improvements or selling part of the property. J. have had several offers for one 5-acre paddock at £100 per acre, which is towards thu centre. I should much appreciate anything you could do to gut me some definite answer.

P.S. - The property was offered at £8,500, and the property at Sandy Bay, which has the j- i iia range on now, is worth at 'least five times this price. The Sandy Bay people are pressing to get the range moved on account of the danger from stray bullets. I am told windows have often been broken and this, of course, scares the people. I am only one mile from the Glenorchy-road, and have electric light and a good water supply laid on; tram is half a mile further away, but is to be extended to Chapel-street very soon.

If the Government buys the land, the municipal council is prepared to extend the train route and to carry riflemen to the range free. When I received that letter, I. -wrote to the Defence Department, and received the following reply -

With reference to your letter of the 6th December, 1920, making representations on behalf of Mr. W. P. Pretyman, of Glenorchy, relative to the acquisition of his property by this department, I desire to inform you that I am making immediate inquiries into- the matter, and will advise you theron as soon as possible.

On the 3rd January, 1927, the following further letter was written by the department -

With regard to your letter of the 9th January, 1927, having further reference to the case of Mr. W. P. Pretyman, of Glenorchy. Tasmania, I am directed to inform you that, on receipt of your previous representations, it was found necessary to make inquiries of the District Base Commandant, Hobart, in the matter. His report has not yet come to hand, but steps arc being taken to have same expedited, and you will be again advised as soon as possible.

Again, on the 26th January, 1927, the Defence Department wrote to me in the following terms -

With further reference to your letter of the nth inst., relative to a complaint by Mr. W. P. Pretyman, of Glenorchy, a report has now been received from the Military Commandant, and it has been ascertained that Mr. Pretyman was not at any time interviewed by any member of this Department relative to the sale of his property. The property was brought under the notice of the Department by an agent named Gluskie, and was inspected on several occasions by officers of the Department. The agent produced, on request, a plan of the property made from survey. ' The property was for sale, and a plan was necessary in any case before a sale could be effected.

As neither Mr. Pretyman nor his agent was requested to withhold the property from sale, it is not considered that any compensation is due from this Department.

In answer to that communication I received the following from Mr. Pretyman : -

Thank you for your enclosing (1054.) Military Department note. I. have no documents, everything was done through Hy. Gluskie; 1113' place was not in the market, and I had no intention of selling until Gluskie came along and said the military wanted the place for a rifle range, and requested me to get a plan for them, which was done. I was iu the hospital at the time, but a survey was made solely for and on account of the military people, and they had their own surveyor afterwards to take levels, &c. I think his name was Hunter. I think I should be recouped for at least the survey, and would like to know if the thing is "off," as I want to go on with farming. Riflemen tell me the place is ideal for a range, there being 110 get away for bullets if targets were placed between two hills; and there are 252 acres for other military purposes. - Yours truly.

W.   P. Pretyman. 7th February, 1927.

There is no doubt Mr. Pretyman was asked by the defence authorities to have a plan prepared and a survey made, and the least the department could have done, if it did not intend to take over the property, was to let the, owner know of its intention, and recompense him for his expenditure of £30, which he could ill afford. I trust that the Minister for Defence will see what can be done in the matter. The Sandy Bay rifle range must eventually go. It is right in the centre of population, and is preventing the progress of an important district. Mr. Pretyman's property at Glenorchy is an ideal site for a rifle range. It is only 5½ miles from Ho bar t, and within easy walking distance of an existing tram route.

Last week I asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence-

1.   Is it a fact that the Defence Department is using imported pine boards for lining huts at Fort Nelson, Hobart?

2.   If so, were alternative tenders called for Tasmanian hardwood lining?

3.   If tenders were not called, will he state the reasons for using pine instead of hardwood ?

The replies I received were as follows : -

1.   Yes.

2.   No.

3.   The reasons alternative tenders were not called for Tasmanian hardwood lining were on account of the fact that the huts are already partly lined with pine boards and the extra cost of using Tasmanian hardwood would amount to approximately £80.

There are many sawmills in the southern end of my electorate whose owners are practically at a standstill, yet we find the Government will not increase the duties on imported timber, and using imported timber because it is cheaper. It is all assumption for the Defence Department to say that imported timber is cheaper than the local hardwood for this purpose. How can it make that statement when it did not secure alternative quotes for imported and local timbers? I have some correspondence dealing with this matter, which I wish to place on record. It is as folows : -

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