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Thursday, 28 May 1942

Mr ROSEVEAR (DALLEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Even if the grant were £1,000,000 or even £2,000,000, could that be regarded as a substantial contri bution? Surely not. 1 am afraid that it will be less in the future because the Commonwealth will plead that all available money is required to meet commitments such as soldiers' deferred pay, repatriation pension?, &c, and will throw the responsibility to look after the unemployed on the States. The worst effects of this legislation may not be feltby the States until after the war, because they will be prevented now from making any special budgetary provision to meet post-war exigencies. Some of the Commonwealth work now being carried out in the States as part of our war effort will have a definite post-war value, but other work such as that being carried out in South Australia will have no post-war value whatever, and will cease when the war terminates. Therefore the problem of post-war reconstruction in South Australia will he different from that in Victoria. It will be much more intense because, owing to enlistments and the call for workers in munitions industries, the primary industries of South Australia have already been denuded to such a degree that in January last, sufficient labour was not available to cut firewood for the furnaces in the fruit-preserving factories, or to pick the fruit. All the industrial development in that State has been in the Commonwealth factories which have no real post-war value. What can South Australia do, even though it may realize, that at the conclusion of the war, special action will have to be taken to rehabilitate members of the fighting forces, and men who are now employed in war undertakings which have no permanent value? What can be done to ensure the rehabilitation of the primary industries, upon which so much depends? Obviously, if the Commonwealth assumes sole control over taxation, and leaves no taxing capacity to the Status, no special provision can be made. These are the problems that the States have to face, and they are the only weaknesses that I can see in this scheme. It is a fact that the great majority of the people of Australia, regardless of the States in which they live, are imbued with one desire and that is to win the war. They are prepared to make all kinds of sacrifices, personal, physical, and monetary, in order to achieve victory.

Surely those individuals who guide the destinies of the various States have sufficient foresight to -re that the" people who are making these sacrifices have a right to demand security in a better world after tie war. Therefore "1 hope that regardless of how long the war lasts, the Commonwealth will, not by means of this legislation, but by means of a reasonable agreement with the States to meet special circumstances, take adequate steps to see that whilst the Treasurer has adequate financial power to prosecute the war to the best advantage of this nation, the States which make the biggest sacrifices new will not be sacrificed when the conflict terminates.

Silting suspended from 11.30 p.m. to 12.15 a.m. (Friday).

Friday, 29 May 191$.

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