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Wednesday, 17 July 1946

Mr Blain (NORTHERN TERRITORY) n asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -

1   . Is it a fact that, if the Mclnnis-Miller town plan bc discarded in re-planning Darwin, the lavish hotel on the sea frontage will bc left on the Government's hands unless the licence be re-granted? 2. («) Is it a fact that because the ' licencees failed to apply for the renewal of the licence the new Ordinance, No. 1 of 194(1, makes it impossible by law for the licence to be granted; (6) if so, does this mean that the owners will be able to cut. their loss?

3.   Does he intend to promulgate a further ordinance to enable the licencees to apply for the renewal of the licence?

4.   Have the owners or licencees made any such further request since Ordinance No. 1 of 1 040 was promulgated?

5.   If not." what will bc the cost to the Government if the owners decide to leave the building on the Government's hands as acquired under the Lands Acquisition Act?

G.   Is the Commonwealth Bank, situated in the centre of the business area on land ostensibly required for naval purposes, to be given a new site, and this beautiful building used to house naval stores?

7.   If not to be used for naval stores, to what use is it proposed to put this building?

8.   Who was the person who first urged the discarding of the Mclnnis-Miller plan?

9.   Was it the former Administrator, the Minister, a senior naval officer, or a senior officerof the Department of Works and Housing?

10.   Will he explain the factors that induced . him to recommend the alteration to Cabinet?

11.   Are the interests of Hotel Darwin to take precedence over the church lands that have been totally confiscated by the new plan?

12.   Will he take immediate action to return the lands confiscated, and allow a plebiscite of Darwin land-holders to ascertain if they prefer the Mclnnis-Miller-Symonds plan to bo substantially adopted?

Mr Johnson (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister Assisting the Minister for Works and Housing) - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   It does not necessarily follow that this will be the position. 2. (a) No; (b) see (a).

3.   No.

4.   Yes.

5.   As the amount to be paid for the property will be the subject of negotiation between the former owners and the Government, this information cannot be supplied.

6.   I am not aware of any proposal to use this building to house naval stores. If the Commonwealth Bank desires another site in the new commercial centre, it will be granted one.

7.   This is a matter for determination by the Naval authorities. 8, 9 and 10. The recommendation to retain the area in question for navalpurposes was made by the Defence Council and approved by the Government.

11.   No.

12.   No. Arrangements have been made for representatives of the citizens of Darwin to be consulted in connexion with certain aspects of the plan.

Mr.frank Packer.

Mr Forde e. - On the 5th July, the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Falstein) asked a question concerning a quantity of furs said to have been found concealed in the luggage of Mr. Frank Packer, managing director of Consolidated Press Limited.

The Minister for Trade and Customs has now informed me that he has not yet received any official report which suggests that Mr. Frank Packer had a quantity of furs concealed in his luggage on his return to Australia recently. Inquiries are still being made into the matter. As regards the suggestion in the honorable member's question of an attempt by Mr. Packer to smuggle pro hibited goods into Australia, the facts are that an incorrect declaration was made by Mr. Packer in relation to portion of his luggage which was forwarded by ship subsequent to his arrival by aircraft. Mr. Packer declared the whole of the contents of the luggage to be personal effects, whereas customs examination disclosed that, in addition, it included toys which had been sent to Australia as gifts to some children. This contravention of the Customs Act was made the subject of a departmental inquiry under Part XV. of that act at the Customs House, Sydney. The inquiry was open to the public and was attended by newspaper reporters. The section of the Customs Act under which the inquiry was held provides for a monetary penalty.

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