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Friday, 12 July 1946

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

1.   Did the Department of the Army grow vegetables in north Queensland and northern Australia: if. so, where?

2.   What was the cost of each farm?

3.   What was the value of vegetables pro- duced at each farm ?

4.   Was large-scale vegetable production' carried out' with prisoner-of-war labour at the Riverina Welfare Farm, Yanco?

5.   If so, what was the expenditure on such project ?

6.   What was the total value of production?

7.   Has the production of vegetables now been discontinued in each instance?

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

1.   Yes. North Queensland at Kairi, and Northern Territory at Adelaide. River and (Catherine (including experimental farm).

2.   Kairi, £64,000; Adelaide River, £141,000; and Katherine (including experimental farm). £71,000.

3.   Kairi, £75,800; Adelaide River, £167,250; and Katherine, £85,000.

4.   Yes.

5.   The total expenditure on the Yanco farm was £71,568.

6.   £102,828. .

7.   Yes.

E mp ire Air Trai ning Scheme.

Mr White e asked the Minister for Air, upon notice -

1.   What was the cost to Australia of the Umpire air training scheme?

2.   To what countries were payments made?

3.   What assistance was given in Australia by Great Britain with gifts of (a) aircraft and (b) other equipment ?

4.   What were the Royal Australian Air Force casualties during the war in numbers killed, wounded and prisoners of war, and on what fronts ?

5.   How many Royal Australian Air Force aircrews were trained under the Empire air training scheme?

6.   How many were trained in each category?

7.   What was the number of ground stall' trained underthe Empire air training scheme, and what were the categories?

Mr Drakeford (MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA) (Minister for Air) - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   The maintenance of complete cost accounts for the Empire air training scheme was not practicable owing to large number of personnel and considerable quantities of equipment, technical stores, maintenance and repair establishments, &c., being utilized for the dual purposes of that scheme and of other Royal Australian Air Force war activities. Cost of the Empire air training schemehas, however, been estimated to total £150,000,000. 2.The sum of £18,207,000 was paid to the Government of Canada, that sum representing the Commonwealth's proportion of costs of advanced training of Royal Australian Air Force trainees in Canada. 3.. (a) Aircraft -

Ansons (turreted) (less wings) 232

Ansons (standard) (less wings) 704

Rattles . . . . 364

Oxfords (less wings).. .. 391


These were the actual numbers of aircraft received, but subsequently, payment was made to the United Kingdom Government for a certain numberofthose aircraft which were utilized exclusively for strictly Royal Australian Air Force purposes as distinct from training.

In addition the British Government supplied a sufficient number of aircraft to equip five (5) Spitfire squadrons, two (2) of which were Empire air training scheme squadrons, and a sixth squadron was" formed from surplus aircraft supplied.

(b)   Other equipment - (i) . Engines for

Moth airframes. (ii) Initial range of spares for Anson, Battle and Oxford aircraft and associated engines. (iii) Spare parts for maintenance of above-mentioned aircraft and engines. (iv) Equipment necessary for the outfitting of all types of instructional schools formed under the Empire Air Training Scheme Agreement (ground equipment, although received from the United Kingdom, was charged to Australia). which, provided that the man is not regarded as a " key " man in his employment, arranges his immediate discharge.

Mr Forde e - On the >4th July, the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Turnbull) asked the following question : -

As officers of the Australian Imperial Force who were prisoners of war in Japanese hands have been paid their full field allowance for the whole of the term of their imprisonment, and as, in normal circumstances, a' member of the Australian Imperial Force, when not being fed by the Army, is paid a subsistence allowance of 3s. a day, does the Minister for the Army favour the proposal that other ranks, who were prisoners of the Japanese, should be paid a subsistence allowance of 3s. a day for the term of their imprisonment, bearing in mind that the Army was not called upon, during that time, to iced and clothe them?

The pay account of a member of the Australian Military Forces who was held in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp was credited with the pay and pay allowances pertaining to his rank for the period of his- captivity. Officers detained, as prisoners of war by the Japanese did not receive 3s. a day subsistence allowance but their pay accounts were credited with 3s. a day field allowance, which is a normal pay allowance made to all officers serving outside Australia. No debits were made to the pay account of such members for the period of their captivity other than for payments made by way of allotment from such pay in accordance with the member's directions. The treatment thus accorded to prisoners of war in relation to their pay accounts was not illiberal and it is not proposed to credit the member's pay account with subsistence allowance as suggested by the honorable member.

Mr. TURNBULLasked the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction,' upon notice -

1.   How many, service personnel were released between August and December, 1945?

2.   Of that number, how many were for the purpose of assisting in home building?

3.   How many technical men, building artisans, and others with special skill required for industries making building materials, were provided by the Government for housing purposes from the releases made?

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

1.   197,844.

2 and 3. From October, 1943, onwards, recommendations were made to the services by the Man-power Directorate for the discharge on occupational grounds of 19,600 men for the building industry and 10,242 for the timber industry. The numbers of men whose discharge was approved were 14,489 for the building industry and 5,960 for the timber industry. Included in the recommendations made for the release of men for the building industry were upwards of 2,000 men for building materials in short supply and the -majority of these have been discharged. It is not possible to indicate precisely how. many of the 14,4S!) men approved for discharge to the building industry were actually discharged between August and December, 1945.

Mr Forde e. - On the 1.0th July, the honorable member lor Moreton (Mr. Francis) asked me whether I had read an article in Smith's Weekly indicating that, although I had stated that discharge certificates issued to deserters would be endorsed to show that they were being discharged for " disciplinary reasons ", this was not being done and deserters were still being issued with clean discharges if they applied for them.

I advised the honorable member that E had not seen the allegations hut that I had been assured by the Chief of the General Staff. Lieu tenant-General Sturdee, that all certificates of discharge were endorsed to indicate that the deserter was being discharged because of illegal absenteeism. I have since read the article and note that it states that, "on unim«peachable authority Smith's Weekly learns that no new instruction has yet been- issued to countermand the original general routine order, which said, that all soldiers illegally absent prior to the 31st December, 1945, would be discharged forthwith ". As a result of inquiries which I have made of the Acting AdjutantGeneral, Brigadier Wardell, I find that definite instructions were issued that, in order to obtain their discharge certificates, members must apply in person, and that the discharge certificate when issued would' be clearly endorsed in block letters with the words,' "Discharged in absentia for misconduct because of illegal absence". This instruction has been fully observed throughout the Commonwealth. The ActingAdjutantGeneral despatched a signal to


5.   Fifty-two thousand five hundred and ninety-four Royal Australian Air Force personnel commenced aircrew training under the Empire air training scheme.

6.   A total of 37,037 Royal Australian Air Force personnel graduated under the Empire air training scheme from schools in Australia, Canada and Rhodesia. By categories the numbers were - Pilots, 15,120; navigators,8,460; wireless air gunners, 9,941; airgunners, 3,516.

7.   No Royal Australian Air Force ground staff were trained specifically for the Empire air training scheme, but 139,232 Royal Australian Air Force and 26,451. Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force personnel were enlisted and trained for ground staff duties in all categories and musterings and from these were drawn ground staffs for Empire air training scheme schools, Empire air training scheme squadrons overseas and Royal Australian Air Force formations and units in the South-West Pacific Area.

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