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Tuesday, 9 May 1939

Mr Price (BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) e asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that, when the State of South Australia entered into an agreement to surrender the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth, an agreement was reached between the two governments for construction of a railway line from Oodnadatta to Darwin?

2.   Is it a fact that the Commonwealth has honoured part of the agreement by constructing a line from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs, and also from Darwin to Birdum?

3.   Is the uncompleted line gap between Alice Springs and Birdum approximately 647 miles?

4.   When does the Government propose to honour in full the agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the State of South Australia?

Mr Perkins - The Minister for the Interior has supplied the following answers to the honorable member's questions : -

1.   The agreement for the surrender and acceptance of the Northern Territory entered into between the Commonwealth and the State of South Australia on the 7th December, 1907, which was ratified and approved by the Northern Territory Acceptance Act 1910, provides - " The Commonwealth in consideration of the surrender of the Northern Territory and property of the State therein and the grant of the rights hereinafter mentioned to acquire and to construct railways in South Australia shall -

(b)   Construct orcause to be constructed a railway line from Port Darwin southwards to a point on the northern boundary of South Australia proper (which railway with the railway from a point on the Port Augusta railway to connect therewith is hereinafter referred to as the Transcontinental railway)."

2.   Railways have been constructed between Oodnadatta and Alice Springs, and between Darwin and Birdum.

3.   Yes.

4.   The matter will receive the consideration of the Government.

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