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Wednesday, 26 November 1941


Mr MARWICK (Swan) .- I welcome the assurance given to me by the Minister for Commerce (Mr. Scully) that all possible sources of superphosphate and other fertilizers within Australia and at places near to Australia would be investigated with a view to their exploitation. I am pleased that, the Joint Committee on Rural Industries intends- to investigate the whole of the factors associated with the manufacture and distribution of superphosphate in Australia. It is most likely that substantial quantities of fertilizers can be obtained locally. For instance, I refer to vast quantities of live and dead guano. Dead guano can very successfully be mixed with superphosphate, but not, I think, live guano. At least 250,000 tons of guano has already been removed from Western Australia, and I think that many more tons is available. From 1916 to 1918 about 100,000 tons of phosphatic rock was mined in South Australia. The phosphatic rock is fairly well scattered throughout South Australia, and it is within the realms of possibility that mining operations could be extended in areas where the rock is high grade. Phosphatic rock is also to be found in Victoria and in New South Wales. In the last war New South Wales produced 60,000 tons of superphosphate from local phosphatic rock. It is imperative that supplies of superphosphate be available to protect the pastures -which have been created as the result of encouragement given by this Parliament by way of the fertilizer subsidy. Guano would be quite suitable for the top-dressing of pastures, although ii would not be of much use in wheatgrowing because its action is slow. I hope that the Minister will instruct his officers to commence immediately the investigation of local resources.







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