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Thursday, 30 April 1942

Mr WARD - I have received from the chairman of the Newcastle Coal Reference Board a report in which he submitted & certain recommendation. I am advised that the management of the mine to which the honorable member referred has refused to observe the recommendation, despite the fact that I directed the company by telegram last evening that the Government expected it to give effect to the decision.

Mr James - Did the Minister per- sonally take that action?

Mr WARD - Yes. The Government takes a most serious view of this defiance of established authority by the management of the mine, and the matter of taking suitable action against the com- pany is under consideration. I expect to be able to make an announcement shortly of the Government's intentions. The honorable member may rest assured that the management will not be permitted to override the authority of the Government in these matters.

Mr JAMES - When the Minister for Labour and National Service is considering what action is to be taken by the Government against the J. and A. Brown and Abermain Seaham Collieries Limited for non-compliance with a direction by the local reference board, will he also consider whether action should be taken against, the Australian Iron and Steel Limited for its refusal to pay yardage rates in accordance with a practice that had applied at its colliery for some years?

Mr WARD - Inquiries are being made into this matter, and as soon as the results are available I shall be pleased to indicate to the Parliament what action the Government proposes to take.

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