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Wednesday, 27 April 1932

Mr JAMES (Hunter) .- I take this opportunity of directing the attention of the Government to the fact that a valuable asset to this nation - the Greta coal measure - situated in my electorate is at present on fire. This seam, which is one of the most valuable in the world, as the result of a subsidence in the old workings, is now on fire. An application has been made to the State Government of New South Wales by the Mayor of Greta aud the Miners Federation to safeguard the collieries adjacent to the old mine which has been closed for 30 years owing to an explosion, as the result of which the bodies of some of the men who lost their lives were never recovered. This fire is in close proximity to the interstate railway, and is endangering transport between New South Wales and Queensland.. If it is not extinguished by filling in the cavity, and so Smothering the flames, New South Wales and Australia will suffer a severe loss. There is in close proximity to this coal-mine another mine which has been burning for the past 40 years, and if something is not done to extinguish the fire at the Greta mine, it may continue for a number of years, and one of our greatest national assets may be destroyed. Although coal fuel has to some extent been superseded by oil fuel, the oil-fields will not last for all time and if this coal seam is saved from destruction. it may be of great value to Australia in years to come. I appeal to the Prime Minister to make available to the municipality of Greta the sum of £2,000 to enable it to carry out the work of filling in ,the cavity and thus preserve this coal seam in' the interests of the nation.

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