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Wednesday, 24 July 1946

Mr SHEEHAN (COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Has the Department of External Territories considered the establishment of rubber plantations in the tropical parts of Australia or in the Mandated Territories? If not, will the Minister, in view of the great importance of rubber in pur national economy, request the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to investigate the possibility of growing rubber in Northern Australia or the adjacent territories?

Mr.WARD.- The Department of External Territories is responsible for determining what shall be done only in the external territories of the Commonwealth. Any investigation of the possibility of growing rubber in parts of Australia is a matter for the Department of the Interior, and I shall refer that part of the honorable member's question to the appropriate Minister. In the territories themselves, my department is concentrating at the moment on rehabilitating the plantations, that have already been established, but land settlement generally in those areas is also under consideration. As soon as possible I shall obtain for the honorable member further information.

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