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Tuesday, 29 September 1942

Mr CURTIN - Whilst the drift was characteristic of certain parts of Australia prior to the outbreak of hostilities, no doubt the war has emphasized the trend. I am aware that the drift is occurring in Queensland, but certain factors other than the war were partly responsible for it. The general relationship of rural industries to the problem of population will be studied by the Rural Reconstruction Committee. At the moment, the Government is concerned with the matter only insofar as it will increase the efficiency of the national effort for war purposes. The. Government has done its best to establish industries outside the cities, always having regard to the quickest way in which to get the required products or materials. For example, the Government is most anxious to transfer men to certain sections of the mining industry. To seek to enforce an arbitrary policy that people shall " stay put " in a particular area for any purpose is to create great difficulties. The Government has been obliged to improvise, according to needs, and I am satisfied that all Ministers can do for some time to come is- to effect such day-to-day adjustments as will meet the overriding requirements of conducting the war.

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