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Wednesday, 9 November 1938

Mr PRICE (Booth by) . - I listened with a great deal of attention to the remarks of honorable members representing Western Australia, with whom I have every sympathy. As I believe in the development of Australian industries, and as the interests of South Australia are vitally concerned in this matter, it is, I think, high time that action was taken to decentralize some of our heavier industries. The motion, however, has not my wholehearted support. The subject has been canvassed from different angles. One of the arguments advanced was that Australia should export to countries from which it imports. If our iron deposits are of such vital importance as has been suggested, we should safeguard them. When the matter was debated in this House recently,I could not understand why the Government declined to grant permission to an all-British company, or a group of men, who were prepared to invest a good deal of capital in the enterprise, to operate on the deposits at the Middleback ranges; but I was not astonished at the imposition of an embargo on exports to a country like Japan. The Minister for the Interior has referred to-night to many deposits in different parts of Australia, and has said that the best of them are to be foundin South Australia, although he admitted that those at Yampi Sound have some value. I want to know what quantity of ore is in sight in Australia?

Mr McEWEN - We are now for the first time making a comprehensive survey, which will supply the answer to the honorable member's question.

Mr PRICE - . I am glad to hear that. I have inspected the deposits at Middleback ranges and Iron Knob, where many hundreds of thousands of tons of ore is in sight, sufficient to last for 150 years if used at the rate of 2,000,000 tons per annum.

Mr Paterson - More than that will very shortly be used.

Mr PRICE -I shall welcome that development. This raw material is of inestimable value to Australia; it will aid in the development of our secondary industries. The manufacture in Australia of motor car engines is not very popular in certain quarters at the moment, but that industry must be established eventually, and the sooner the better for all concerned, because a car sold in the United States of America for £200 costs from £440 to £460 in Australia.I believe that an economic unit could be established in Australia, and a car manufactured at a cost of something like £200. We already have motor-body builders in Australia and they are doing an excellent service. I appeal to the Government to investigate very seriously the quantity of iron ore available in Australia; that would be a national service. We could then embark upon the manufacture of motor car engines and proceed with the development of our iron and steel industries generally.

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