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Tuesday, 1 October 1935

Mr PRICE (BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The Minister for the Interior intimated to me last week that an important letter had been despatched to the Premier of South Australia in regard to the proposed construction of the Port Augusta toRed Hill railway, but he could not at that moment disclose the contents of that communication. I ask him now whether he is prepared to indicate the nature . of the latest proposal of the Commonwealth Government in this connexion; whether he will lay on the table of the House the correspondence in connexion with the matter, and whether he does not think it possible for some arrangement to be reached between the two governments without recourse to litigation?

Mr.PATERSON.- It will be remembered that when this subject was under discussion some time ago, it was intimated that the Government of South Australia had estimated that the cost to it of obtaining connexion by a 5-ft. 3-in. railway betweenRed Hill and Port Pirie, under the terras of the 1925 agreement, would be about £100,000. Under the alternative proposal put forward by the Commonwealth Government it was estimated that the cost would be £350,000. The difference between those two amounts is £250,000. These are South Australian estimates. The Commonwealth Government has now offered to pay South Australia £10,000 a year for twenty years, which, honorable members will observe, is equivalent to 4 per cent. on the difference between the cost of the two proposals, and it is hoped that this offer will be the means of reaching a speedy agreement between the two governments.

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