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Friday, 12 July 1946

The following answers to questions were circulated: -




applicants who replied to advertisements in metropolitan newspapers and technical journals.

Mr.CHifley. - On the 10th July, the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) directed a question to me regarding representations from the Premier of Victoria requesting that Victoria should be represented on the Australian Aluminium Production Commission.

I have informed the Premier that, whilst his viewpoint on the matter is appreciated, there is a difficulty in that the present arrangement is a partnership between the Governments of the Commonwealth and of Tasmania, and that there would have to be amendments of acts of both Parliaments. Before these could be secured, it would be necessary probably to present convincing reasons to the respective Parliaments, and it is doubtful at the moment whether the investigations proceeding are sufficiently advanced to warrant any conclusions. Mr. Cain was further advised that I was prepared to submit to my Government a proposal that the State of Victoria should be admitted to a partnership in the aluminium production project, subject to the consent of the State of Tasmania being first obtained. Isuggested to him, however, that it was a matter upon which, in the first instance, he might confer with the Premier of Tasmania.

Armed Forces : Demobilization ; A ustralian Prisoners of War; Subsistence Allowances; Discharges of . Illegal Absentees.

Mr Forde - On the 4th July, the honorable member forReid (Mr. Morgan) said that a number of young men withfouror five years' service in the armed forces were desirous of returning to civil life in essential industries and asked if I could indicate the prospects of their early discharge.

I am now able to inform him that discharges to the 6th July totalled 293,987. Where return to essential industry is required, such applicationsare considered by the Commonwealth. Employment Service in conjunction with the Co-ordinator of Demobilization and Dispersal. All applications recommended by these authorities are referred to the Army, copy is sent to the head office of the Mines Department in Brisbane, and the other copy is retained by the Mining Warden at Cloncurry, Charters Towers, or wherever he may be. There is in Queensland a complete map of the area surveyed. I understand that that is the case also in Western Australia. I visited Western Australia at my own expense and re-organized the whole of the mining department of the Northern Territory, on the basis of the system in operation iii that State, but miners have told me that my good work has been undone. I. urge the Minister to have, the surveys completed. There are mines producing on; which gives a return of 5 oz. of gold to the ton. and there will be bloodshed at Tennant Creek if men start " j limping" one -another.?' claims. The Minis:ter know? quite well that in such isolated parts very little is needed to cause a " flare-up [Extension of time granted. ] 1 have received this .further letter from Mi-. Rowe - 1 am instructed by the above association to a>k your help in getting war-time exemptions on gold-mining' leases at Tennant Creek cancelled. We have been in communication with the- Minister foi- the Interior, and Director nf Mines on this matter. These exemptions are retarding development work on the field,, there, are 73 leases under exemption, about, five are held by men now in the services, the rest are held bv people who are not and were noi in the services, and who it seems do not intend to work tin- leases until the 'exemption expires. The Minister has informed us that the exemption must stand until peace i* signed and six months after:' and that it seems, that special legislation is required to alter this. As this legislation is in the form of -in ordinance we think that legislation should be put through at once as there will always be a six months after. As His Majesty will legally be at war until peace is signed with Japan as well as his other enemies, you can see that it is possible for these exemptions to last for years.

The association would also ask you to try and ascertain the position of Tennant Creek leaseholders and others in regard to wartime compensation, nearly all of our leases were denuded of machinery, buildings, and tools by the army authorities and the Mines Department. The replacing of any of these things is very expensive, and my association think that the leaseholders and others arc entitled to compensation for their losses.

So do I. The letter continues -

We do not have to apologize for asking your assistance' in these matters, as we know that von will be only too pleased to help us.

This is the second occasion on which I have had to bring this matter before the House. I ask the Minister to do something for that area. A special Minister, or an assistant Minister, should be delegated to direct the administration of the Northern Territory, because obviously the Minister for the Interior is too fully occupied with other matters to bc bothered with it.

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