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Wednesday, 13 May 1942

Mr.FORDE (Capricornia - Minister for the Army. - by leave - Several honorable members have asked me questions recently, without notice, concerning the employment of prisoners of war. I now inform them that of the total number of prisoners of war held in Australia, approximately 37 per cent., comprising officers, non-commissioned officers, protected medical personnel, and hospital and dysentery control cases, are not available for general work. In addition, approximately 10 per cent. are required for essential camp duties and as batmen to officers who are prisoners of war.

Three labour detachments of prisoners of war have been formed in places where civilian labour is not available. One detachment has been formed for maintenance work on the Trans-Australian railway, one for vegetable and firewood production at Yanco, New South Wales, and one for the production of firewood urgently required for pumping stations and services essential to the maintenance of the Loveday internment camps in South Australia. Extensive projects now in hand for the production of vegetables, firewood and other supplies for the forces, together with constructional work in connexion with camps, irrigation, and new roads, will shortly absorb all the available prisoner of war labour.

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