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Tuesday, 13 October 1931

Mr MARTENS (Herbert) .- The Public Works Committee is not now functioning, but if governmental works were being undertaken it would resume its investigations. Therefore, I cannot support the amendment for the abolition of the committee on the grounds that it is not functioning at the present time. I am, however, interested in the expenditure of public money. A certain amount of money is being made available by the Commonwealth Bank for the relief of unemployment by the alteration of a meat works to provide an abattoirs at Brisbane. No more flagrant misuse of public money was ever contemplated. A former Queensland Government proposed to establish abattoirs at Brisbane, find sought the advice of experts from Sydney and Melbourne who roundly condemned all the existing meat work3 in the Brisbane metropolitan area, and said that no expenditure upon conversion of any one of them would produce suitable abattoirs.

Mr Paterson - What has this to do with the bill?

Mr MARTENS - The expenditure of public money is involved.

Mr Bernard Corser - The money to be advanced by the banks is not public money.

Mr MARTENS - When a bank advances money which has been deposited by the public it is investing public funds. The expenditure on the abattoirs will not produce employment for more than a few people, and will merely bring up to date obsolete works that can never be thoroughly satisfactory. It is idle to say that the money involved does not belong to the public. It is true that the proposal will not be investigated by the Public Works Committee, but if the Government had anything to do with the financing of it, as the honorable member for Darling Downs (Mr. Morgan) suggested, the matter would be referred to the committee. It is unfortunate that that cannot be done, because a parliamentary investigation would prevent the advance of money for a rotten job.

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