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Thursday, 1 December 1938

Mr Green n asked the Minister administering External Territories, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that the closing date for tenders for the purchase of a permit, under the Forestry Ordinance 1936-1937, for the exclusive right to take and remove 50,000,000 super feet of pine from on area in the Bulolo Valley, has been extended from the 2nd December, 1938, to the 10th March, 1939?

2.   If so, what is the reason for the extension?

3.   What officer was responsible for the alteration, and under whose instructions did he act?

4.   In whose custody have the tenders already received been placed?

5.   Is it a desirable practice to have tenders in the possession of the department, whilst awaiting tenders which may be lodged, after the original closing date, by applicants who have been given an extension of three months over the original tenderers, and does such practice give rise to suspicion of opportunities for malpractice ?

6.   How many tenders have been received for the advertised date of the 2nd December?

7.   In fairness to tenders already made, what steps have been taken to preserve the necessary secrecy, and to remove from the minds of the public all fear of unfairness?

Mr Harrison - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   Yes.

2.   The New Guinea Administration received inquiries from prospective tenderers as to the probable cost of transport by the road that is to be constructed between Salamaua and Wau. As the Acting Administrator was not in a position to supply the desired information, he considered it desirable that the closing date for the receipt of tenders should be extended.

3.   The Acting Administrator, pursuant to the authority vested in him under the Forestry Regulations.

4.   Tenders were required to be addressed to the Secretary, Department of Lands, Surveys, Mines and Forests, Rabaul, and lodged in the tender-box in the office of that department or posted in time to be received in that office by noon on the 2nd December, 1938.

5.   The normal procedure adopted on occasions when it is necessary to defer closing dates of tenders will be followed by the New Guinea Administration to ensure that the extension of the closing date is in no way detrimental to any tenderer, and proper and adequate measure will he taken to preserve the utmost secrecy in connexion with all tenders. Tenders that are lodged by the original closing date will remain unopened until after all tenders have been received up to the extended date. It will be competent for persons who have already lodged tenders to submit amendments to those tenders or to lodge fresh tenders.

8.   This information will not be available until the tender-box is opened after the closing date.

7.   See answer to No. 5.

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