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Friday, 19 May 1939

Mr NAIRN (Perth) .- The scheme which is now before the Parliament represents a considerable reduction of the proposal originally submitted. This revised plan was evolved as the result of a series of conferences at Darwin between the committee and the Principal Medical Officer, Dr. Cook, the Principal Resident Architect, Mr. Burnett, a most valuable officer, and the Administrator. It represents the unanimous agreement not only of members of the committee but also of responsible officers in the Northern Territory. The committee examined the question very extensively, and in its deliberations had the advantage of a formula which had been laid down by Dr. Schlink, of Sydney, as to the number of beds that should be allowed in proportion to population. The committee allowed a liberal margin on account of the tropical conditions at Darwin. It obtained the best information it could as to the probable increase of population, looking ahead for. a number of years, and fixed the number of beds accordingly. It was informed by the medical officers That the climate at Darwin is not .so bad as is generally supposed. Though it is definitely enervating, statistics show that it is not, on the whole, more unhealthy than other parts of Australia. Diseases generally are not more acute than in southern parts of the Commonwealth, and it is believed that when proper hospital accommodation is provided and a better water supply is made available, the health of the people at Darwin will be reasonably satisfactory. In arriving at its decision the committee nearly doubled the allowance recommended in the formula laid down by Dr. Schlink, which is generally found to be satisfactory in more temperate parts. " I believe that quite adequate provision has been made in this proposal, and I repeat that it carries the agreement of all responsible officers in the Northern Territory.

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