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Thursday, 11 April 1946


Mr Fadden n asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that he intends to convene, at an early date a conference to discuss the stabilization of the dairying industry?

2.   If so {a) has the date been fixed for such conference, (6) is it intended to invite representatives of the industry to attend the conference, and \c) will Queensland be represented ?

3.   Will he inform the House of the nature of the subjects to be discussed at the conference ?


Mr Scully - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1 and .2. Representatives of the dairying industry met me in Canberra on Tuesday, the 9th April, 1946, to discuss certain measures connected with the stabilization of the industry. Queensland producers were represented.

3.   Members of the deputation submitted for consideration by the Government - (i) The question of returns to the industry based on average costs of production; (ii) stability to the industry over a lengthy period; and (iii) the formation of a government-dairying advisory body to report to. the Government on such matters as may be referred to it.

International Affairs: RussoDanish Relations.


Mr Archie Cameron n asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -

1.   Have Russian forces evacuated the Danish island of Bornholm?

2.   In what way is Russian security threatened by Denmark?

Dr.EVATT.--The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. According to available information the evacuation of Bornholm by Russian forces has been completed.

Telephone Services.


Mr Calwell l. - The honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan) has inquired as to whether immediate relief might beexpected by applicants for telephone services. The Postmaster-general has furnished me with the following information : -

There are 60,000 outstanding applications for telephone services in the Commonwealth and the difficulties experienced by the public in securing the facilities are fully appreciated by the Postal Department, which is taking all possible steps to meet the position. Due entirely to war conditions, it was necessary to impose restrictions on the provision of new services excepting those required for essential purposes. In consequence, it was inevitable that heavy arrears of applications should be accumulated. Since hostilities ceased approximately 32,000 new telephone services have been connected. Despite the fact that the number of new installations is now approximating the pre-war standard the continued demands for facilities and the difficulties with which the department is still confronted in regard to supplies of materials and building accommodation render it impossible to comply with all orders at present and some considerable time must necessarily elapse before the department can overtake the outstanding orders. Largo stocks of telephone equipment have been on order for a long period, and a considerable quantity has already been delivered, whilst further progressive supplies are expected. The main difficulty is to secure new buildings to accommodate the additional equipment whilst major cable projects and the shortage of skilled man-power are other factors which are contributing to the present acute position. The comprehensive programme of workswhich has been planned to overtake the arrears and cater for telephone development includes the provision of many new automatic exchanges in the metropolitan areas and country dis- t ricts and the matter is being proceeded with as expeditiously as practicable.

Housing : Occupation of Private Dwellings by Armed Forces and Foreign Troops.


Mr Forde - On the 22nd March, the honorable member for Darling Downs (Mr.Fadden), asked the following questions, upon notice : -

1.   Is it a fact instructions were given for all private dwellings occupied for military purposes to be vacated by 1st October, 1945?

2.   Are any private dwellings at present occupied for military purposes?

3.   If so, (a) where are such dwellings located and (b) by whom are they occupied and for what purpose?

In my answer I stated that the information required under No. 3 (a) and (b) was being collated, and would be supplied as soon as possible. I now desire to advise that the information required is as under -

 


Mr Harrison n asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that foreign and coloured troops are still in occupation of private homes at Point Piper?

2.   Is it a fact that there are many unoccupied military installations in Sydney to which these troops could be transferred?

3.   In view of the fact that quartering of troops in private houses was a war-time measure, will he have immediate steps taken to have restored to their owners, the homes referred to?


Mr Forde - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   No premises at Point Piper are. now hired by the Army and no information is available in the Army as to whether it is a fact that troops who are not members of the Australian Military Forces are occupying private homes there. It is understood, however, that there are several premises occupied by Netherlands East Indies personnel as a result of private negotiations, and not . through the agency of the Army Hirings Service.

2.   See answer to No. 1.

3.   See answer to No. 1.


Mr Francis s asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that the Army Canteens Services have increased prices of many goods to the Australian Occupation Force in Japan?

2.   If so, (a) how do these prices compare with the prices charged the troops by Army Canteens Services in the Middle Bast and the Pacific, and (6) what is the reason for such increase?

3.   Is the pay of the Australian Occupation Force in Japan greater than the pay of the troops when in the Middle East and the Pacific?

4.   If not, how can any increase in prices charged by the Canteens Services be justified?

5.   Will he direct that goods he made available to the troops at the prices that prevailed in the Middle East and the Pacific?


Mr Forde - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   Yes. 2. (a) Generally lower than those charged in. the Middle East but slightly higher than the Pacific. (b) Freight, insurance and other overhead charges.

3.   The same as since 14th August, 1942, but a minimum exchange rate of1s. per diem is paid to troops in Japan which gives privates and corresponding ranks a slight daily increase.

4.   See answer to No. 2.

5.   No. See answer to No. 2 (a). The present prices are temporary and will be subject to review from time to time.


Mr Guy (WILMOT, TASMANIA) y asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

When may the honorable member for Wilmot expect a reply to his written representations addressed , to the Minister on the 6th December, 1945, relative to the case of the late V187447, Private K. H. Fraser?


Mr Forde - Unavoidable delay has occurred in dealing with this and other similar cases, for the reason that the DeceasedSoldiers' Estates Act made provision for the exercise by the Minister of certain powers regarding the distribution of such estates, and action was in course for the exercise of those powers when legal questions were raised which resulted in the deferment of the exercise of authority under the Act until the question was determined. It is expected that finality will be achieved at an early date, which will permit of the administration of outstanding estates, including that of the late Private Fraser, to be proceeded with. A reply to this effect was forwarded to the honorable member to-day.


Mr Forde e. - On the 4th April, the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Chambers) asked the following question : -

Will the Minister representing the Minister for Defence furnishme with particulars of the total personnel taken into the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the women's services, and also the total number of Australian casualties, during the recent war?

I now furnish the honorable member with the following information supplied by the service departments: -

 

 


Mr Guy asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

When may the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Guy) expect a reply to his written representations made to the Prime Minister on the 21st January, relative to the question of the repayment of certain moneys allotted to next-of-kin in respect of deceased members of the 8th Division, Australian Imperial Force ?


Mr Chifley y. - I received and acknowledged the receipt of letters sent to me by the honorable member on this matter and am endeavouring to have a decision reached at the earliest possible date.

Royal Australian Air Force: Empire Radio Training School - Mail Services to Troops.


Mr Drakeford d. - On the 9th April, 1946, the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) asked the following question : -

I ask the Minister for Air whether it is true, as reported in the press, that no member of the Royal Australian Air Force has been nominated to attend the radio training school at Debden, near Saffron Walden, in the United Kingdom? If that is so, and as we have no equivalent school here, I ask the Minister to rectify this omission, in view of the importance of ensuring that Air Force specialists should bo up to date in radar and radio work generally.

I am now in a position to answer the honorable member as follows : -

The proposal to establish an Empire radio school in England has been the subject of communications between the United Kingdom and the Australian Governments. Negotiations for Australian representation, both on the directing staff of the school and for attendance of trainees, have been in progress for some . time. When the commencing date of the first course is known, nominations of personnel to attend the course will be made, and it is hoped by that time that satisfactory arrangements for Australian representation on the staff will be completed.


Mr White asked the Minister for Air, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that there are insufficient aeroplanes calling at Lae to maintain a satisfactory mail service to Australian troops in New Britain?

2.   Are 72 Liberators standing out in the weather at Amberley Field, Brisbane, as stated in the press?

3.   Are these aircraft to be scrapped, or can some of them be used to improve the service to Lae?


Mr Drakeford d. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   No. Royal Australian Air Force aircraft maintain services from the mainland to Lae three times per week. Qantas Empire Airways Limited also provide three services per. week.Roal Australian Air Force aircraft also provide a twice-weekly service Lae to New Britain, which frequency is to be increased to three times per week as from the 13th April, 1946.

2.   Sixty Liberator aircraft are stored in the open at Amberley Field, the engines of those aircraft being protected by standard engine covers. It is impossible to provide the very extensive hangarage that would be required for those aircraft. All existing storage accommodation is fully occupied by technical equipment, stores, &c, which are subject to far greater deterioration through exposure to weather conditions.

3.   Aircraft are not to be scrapped. They were obtained from the United States of America under lend-lease conditions and will be disposed of in accordance with arrangements as may be agreed between the Australian and the United States Governments regarding lend-lease equipment. None of these aircraft can be used to improve the service to Lae without involving a change in demobilization plans. It is considered that the present six aircraft services per week from the mainland to Lae and three services weekly from Lae to New Britain are adequate to meet present requirements.







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