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Thursday, 11 April 1946

Mr Fadden n asked the Minister for Works and Housing, upon notice -

1.   Were tenders invited for (a) the installation of plywood manufacturing machinery in Slazenger's annexe, Alexandria, New South Wales, and (b) the operation thereof (i) by lease, (ii) by business management and (iii) by share interests in the operating company?

2.   If so, how many tenders were received?

3.   Was any tender accepted?

4.   Were any tenders refused; if so, what were the detailed reasons for the refusal of each? 5. (a) When was the machinery imported; (b) how many hours has it been used; (c) when were tenders called; (d) where is the machinery at present; (e) to what use is it being put at present and (f) what is the intention of the Minister with respect to its future use?

6.   Will he lay on the table of the House the file in connexion with this matter, including the tenders received?

Mr Lazzarini - The following information has been supplied by my colleague, the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction : - 1. (a) No separate tender was invited for the installation of machinery at Slazenger's Annexe at Alexandria, New South Wales. The advertisement specified "the completion and operation of the plywood factory at Alexandria as a going concern ". Some plant both of overseas and Australian manufacture although delivered had not been installed, the war need having passed. An additional but minor quantity of equipment still needs to be ordered fully to equip the factory. (b) Tenderers were left free to indicate the method preferred whether by lease or other means.

2.   Seven tenders were received, including one lodged late.

3.   No tender was accepted.

4.   All tenderers have now been advised that the annexe and the equipment is no longer available, for the following reasons: -

(a)   The major and most important part of the equipment had been obtained under lend-lease agreement with the United States of America, but negotiations extending over several months for the purchase of this plant by the Commonwealth have not been successful and there is no indication when finality can be reached.

(b)   The urgency for providing facilities for technical training for ex-service personnel makes it imperative now that the building itself be utilized fr that purpose by the Department of Labour and National Service. 5. (a) The machinery was imported in 1943-44; (b) the equipment originally contemplated for war use has not been used for plywood production; (c) tenders were called by public advertisement in all capital cities in June, 1945, returnable in the first instance on 7th August, 1945 ; subsequently extended to 7th September, 1945; (d) the equipment is at present partly housed in the plywood factory and partly in munitions stores; (e) the machinery is not at present being put to any use; (f)the Government has decided that such of the equipment as is Commonwealth-owned is to be disposed of through, normal disposals channels while the lend-lease equipment is to be held pending determination of the overall lend-lease position.

0.   I am willing to arrange for the file, including the tenders received, to be made available for the right honorable member's .perusal.

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