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Wednesday, 10 May 1939

Mr Riordan (KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND) n asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -

1.   When was the present hospital at Darwin constructed?

2.   Have plans been approved for a new hospital? If so, when?

3.   If approvalhas been given to the plans, when is it proposed to commence construction ?

4.   Are blacks, . half-castes and whites admitted to the present hospital?

5.   Is he satisfied that the existing conditions at Darwin hospital are satisfactory?

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

1.   The original hospital buildings were erected long before the Commonwealth took over the administration of the Northern Territory, in 1911. Subsequent additions have been made from time to time.

2.   Plans were prepared, but required amending. Amended plans are now being prepared.

3.   Construction will be commenced as early us practicable after the plans have been adopted. 4.. Yes.

5.   The existing buildings are not considered to be satisfactory.

Mr Riordan n asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -

1.   How is Darwin at present supplied with water ?

2.   What is the total supply for a calendar year?

3.   What was the population of Darwin before the arrival of the mobile force?

4.   What is the population now?

5.   Is there any danger of Darwin being without water at any period in the next three months?

6.   Is the present water supply adequate?

7.   If not, what steps are being taken to increase it?

8.   If any steps are tobe taken, how long will itbe before the increased supply is available?

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

1.   The water supply for Darwin at present consists of a series of private tanks, bores and wells which arc situated on properties throughout the town.

2.   The total supply from the present source cannot be given as the information has never been compiled, but towards the end of a dry season there is a shortage of water in the town.

3.   The population at the 30th June, 1938, was, excluding aboriginals, 1911 Europeans, 737 Asiatics, 309 half-castes and II others.

4.   No information is available as to the present population. However, it is considered to be substantially above the figures given for 1938, owing to the constructional and defence activity in Darwin.

5.   It is considered unlikely that any of the civil population in Darwin will be without water during the next three months.

6.   The present supply is considered to be inadequate.

7.   The permanent water supply scheme for Darwin is now under construction. This will not be available for the present dry season, and as it is anticipated that the existing supply will be insufficient to meet the demand towards the end of the dry season, steps are being taken to install a temporary pumping unit.

8.   It is anticipated that this temporary scheme will be available in approximately three months time.

Formation of New Government: Communications with GovernorGeneral.

Mr Menzies s. - On the 9th May the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) asked the following question, without notice -

Will the Prime Minister have inquiries made in his department to see whether any written communications passed between his predecessor and the Governor-General regarding the recent change of government? Ifso, will he lay any relevant papers on the table of the House for the information of honorable members ?

I desire to inform the honorable member that I have had inquiries made and have ascertained that the only relevant correspondence on the subject is a copy of a communication dated the 20th April, 1939, from the Right Honorable Sir Earle Page to His Excellency the Governor-General tendering his resignation as "Chief Adviser and Head of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia ".

Air-mail Services.

Mr White asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -

1.   What is the amount of subsidy per annum paid to Qantas Empire Airways for carriage of air mails?

2.   What is the sum total of subsidies paid for air-mail transport in Australia?

3.   What proportion of overseas mail is carried onwards by flying boat from Darwin?

4.   How is South Australian and Western Australian overseas air mail delivered to Adelaide and Perth?

5.   What subsidy is paid to Qantas for its Queensland-Darwin service ?

6.   What weight of air mail has been carried each year by Qantas land service to and from Darwin since the flying-boat service has been established ?

7.   What is the approximate cost to Australia for Qantas Empire Airways flying bases and other expenditure, including Royal Australian Air Force and Civil Aviation Department inspections and reconnaissance?

8.   What further expenditure is contemplated on the Qantas Empire Airways route during the next five years?

Mr Fairbairn n. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   Qantas Empire Airways Limited receives a total payment of £148,118 per annum in respect of carriage of air mails on services as shown hereunder : -


2.   At the rates applicable under current arrangements between the Civil Aviation Department and air service contractors, the total payments would amount to £317,701 annually, subject to due completion of the prescribed number of contract trips and to compliance otherwise with contractual requirements. This amount includes a payment of approximately £5,000 per annum in respect of the carriage of all first class mail on the Melbourne-Launceston service calculated at 4d. per lb. for all mail in excess of 200 lb. per scheduled contract trip and a sum of approximately £4,500 per annum in respect of the carriage of Empire Air Mail at 2s. per lb. from Melbourne to Adelaide. It is to be observed that the Departmental votes are credited with revenue from air mail fees and air mail conveyance payments amounting, at present rates, to approximately 50 per cent, of the total expenditure on subsidies and air mail payments.

3.   Inwards overseas mails for Queensland, New South Wales and New Zealand are carried forward from Darwin by flying boats. Since inception of the Empire Flying Boat Service in August, 1938, such mails have approximated 54 per cent, of the total incoming mail matter.

4.   South Australian mail is carried by Guinea Airways Limited from Darwin to Adelaide thrice weekly. Western Australian mails are conveyed along the coastal route from Darwin to Perth twice weekly by MacRobertson Miller Aviation Company Limited, whilst once weekly the malls are carried by Guinea Airways Limited over the Central Aus- ' tralian route to Adelaide, and thence by Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited to Perth.

5.   At the rate of £18,185 per annum for the service operating between Brisbane and Daly Waters, vide 1. above.

6.   On the inauguration of the Empire Flying Boat Service on the 3rd August, 1938, the land service operated by Qantas Empire Airways Limited between Brisbane and Darwin was varied and Daly Waters became the northern terminal of the company's service. Since that date approximately 3,300 lb. weight of air mail has been carried along this route.

7.   The approximate cost to the 31st March, 1939, on establishment of flying bases, and provision of ground organization facilities was £163,000 capital and £11,000 maintenance. The capital expenditure is, however, to be amortised over the period of the agreement for the Empire Air Mail Service and the total expenditure (amortisation of capital expenditure and maintenance costs) chargeable to the Commonwealth of Australia in respect of the agreement is to be limited to £37,500 (Australian) per annum. All costs in excess of that amount are to be recovered from the Government of the United Kingdom.

8.   It would appear that further expenditure of a capital nature contemplated on the Darwin-Sydney flying boat route during the next five years, including completion of works at present in hand, may approximate £115,000. The remarks under question No. 7. above regarding amortization of capital and the limitation of expenditure chargeable to the Commonwealth Government will apply also to all such later expenditure on works and facilities as may be agreed to by the two Governments.

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