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Thursday, 30 April 1942

Mr MAKIN (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Munitions) - The honorable member for Hunter intimated to me several months ago that numbers of lathes at various collieries and garages in the Newcastle district were not being worked to capacity. An officer of my department and also Senator Large submitted reports to me on the subject. Senator Large intimated that there was a number of useful machines. My department also has reviewed the position. I point out to the honorable gentleman, however, that lathes are not sufficient in themselves to equip a workshop for munitions production. The lathes must be operated in conjunction with other processing plant and equipment. Lathes, as a matter of fact, are only a small part of the equipment of a munitions factory. In munitions work machines of high precision are required. The advice furnished to me by my department was to the effect that several of the lathes available on the coal-fields could be used effectively if associated with other equipment, and a suggestion was made that they should be removed .to certain engineering shops in other localities in order to harness them to munitions production. This, I know, would be strongly resisted by people on the northern coal-fields. Thi' taking of such machines may impair the repair work required at the collieries. T recognize the qualifications of Mr. Ryder, and I should be happy to utilize his services if it were within my power to do so. It would be of no use merely to assemble the lathes under one roof, however, for, as I have said, other equipment is necessary in order to establish a munitions manufacturing unit. I shall order a further investigation of whether something can be clone to utilize this equipment in the way desired by the honorable member for Hunter.

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