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Tuesday, 9 May 1939

Mr Sheehan (COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES) n asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

Will he supply details of contracts let by the Defence Department for the manufacture of shells for defence purposes, showing (a) the names of manufacturing firms which have received contracts; (b) the amount and class of work to be carried out; (c) the price of each contract; and (d) the length of time of each contract?

Mr Street - The information desired by the honorable member is as follows : -

(a)   The Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited.

(b)   (i) Shell Q.F., H.E., 18-pdr., streamline (empty), 10,001; (ii) shell Q.F., H.E., 18- pdr., streamline (empty), 1,000; (iii) shell Q.F., H.E., 3 inch, 20 cwt. (empty), 5,015; (iv) shell Q.F., H.E., 3 inch, 20 cwt. (empty), 8,000.

(c)   The price of each contractset out in (b) was as under: - (i) £11,653 19s. 10d.; (ii) £1,065 13s. 9d.; (iii) £5,328 8s. 9d.; (iv) £8,100.

(d)   The time for delivery specified in each of the above contracts was as follows: -

(i)   Two hundred and fifty a week commencing on the 9th May, 1938. The contract has been completed.

(ii)   This was an extension order to (i) to absorb material over-manufactured, and no particular date of delivery was specified. The order has, however, been completed.

(iii)   Delivery was specified as soon as possible. Three thousand shells have been manufactured and are awaiting proof. The balance will be completed by the 30th June, 1939.

(iv)   Four thousand are to be delivered by the 20th July, 1939, and the balance by the 23rd September, 1939.

Mr Casey - On the 4th May, the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Curtin) asked the following questions, upon notice: -

1.   What contracts have been let to private firms for the manufacture of arms and munitions, during the present programme?

2.   To whom have they been let?

3.   What is the value of each contract?

I am now in a position to inform the honorable member that, since the 1st March, 1938, the following contracts have been placed with private firms for the manufacture of munition components: -


The policy of the Government is to obtain peace requirements from the government factories, and the majority of the orders placed with the abovementioned private firms were the outcome of tenders which were invited early in 1938 throughout Australia to test any latent capacity which might exist. The orders were in the nature of educational ones, and from that point of view they have been successful.

As has been previously announced, the output of government factories would not be sufficient to meet the requirements of the fighting services under emergency conditions. The Government has, therefore, arranged for armament annexes to be attached to certain railway workshops and selected firms, as under: -

Charles Ruwolt Pty. Ltd., Melbourne; Stewarts and Lloyds (Aust.) Ltd., Newcastle; Victorian Railways; New South Wales Railways; Australian Glass Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Melbourne; Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd., Sydney ; H. V. McKay Massey Harris Pty. Ltd., Melbourne; R. B. Davies and Co. Pty. Ltd., Sydney; McKenzie and Holland (Aust.) Pty. Ltd., Melbourne; Duly and Hansford, Sydney; Electricity Meter Manufacturing Co. Pty. Ltd., Sydney; Amalgamated Wireless (A/asia) Ltd., Sydney; General MotorsHoldens Ltd., South Australia; Johns and Waygood Ltd., Melbourne; Ford Co. of Australia, Geelong.

The capacity of these annexes will provide for large outputs of bombs, shell forgings, shell machining, grenades, fuzes and naval mines, if required. In addition, arrangements have been made for tool and gauge manufacture by the attachment of an annexe to the South Australian Railways workshops.

It is not possible at this stage to state the value of the orders which will be placed with the annexes, as they will not be utilized for bulk manufacture except under emergency conditions. It is intended, however, that modest trial orders shall be placed with each of them in order to prove the output of the plant and to familiarize the employees with the technique of munition manufacture. The extent of these orders has not yet been decided, but they will be subject to costing by departmental officers, and profits will be controlled.

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