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Friday, 26 July 1946

Mr Harrison n asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that under National Security Regulations employees cannot obtain variations in rates paidas at 10th February, 1942, unless anoinalies or changed circumstances in their employment can he shown to exist?

2.   Is it a fact that re-classification of the staff of the Commonwealth Bankhas been completed, and that officers in that bank have received substantial salary increases?

3.   Have increases in both salary and child endowment been granted to employees of the State Savings Bank of Victoria?

4.   Are employees of this bank members of registered association of bank officers

5.   Have salary increases also been granted to public school teachers in New South Wales?

6.   If these are facts, will he states - (o) whether these increases are consistent with National Security Regulations; (b) whether the new rates for bank staffs have been gazetted ? If not, why not, and when will they be gazetted; (c) is it the intention of the Government to make available to employees of private tradinp banks thesame machinery as that made available to staffs of the CommonWealth Bank and the State Savings Bank of Victoria to obtain higher rates? .

Mr Chifley - Inquiries are being made and a reply will be f urnished as soon as possible.

Mr.Francis asked the Minister for

Immigration, upon notice -

1.   How many immigrants have entered Queensland since August, 1945?

2.   What are their nationalities?

Mr Calwell l. - The number of immigrants, i.e., persons not previously resident in Australia who were admitted for permanent residence, was approximately 360, including 200 British war brides, 150 discharged American servicemen, 4 Dutch ex-servicemen, and a few other foreign nationals whose admission had been authorized. In addition, approximately 2,500 Dutch evacuees were admitted for recuperation purposes, but most of these have since left under arrangements made by the Netherlands Government authorities.

Mr Harrison asked the Minister for

Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that British importers are anxious to obtain unlimited quantities of Australian poultry and turkeys this season?

2.   Is it a fact that, under the present system of exporting poultry and turkeys to the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth Government acts as procurement agent - for the British Ministry of Food, which purchases the product and re-sells it to importers?

3.   Does his department lay it down, under conditions imposed by the British Ministry of Food, that the birds must be inspected where they are killed and not on the farms?

4.   Does this entail transportation of live birds by goods train to approved killing sheds ?

6.   Is it a fact that rabbits' exported to the United Kingdom are packed on the farms and despatched by fast trains to exporting centres?

6.   Does this ensure that they reach their destination in prime condition?

7.   Is it possible for the practice followed in the preparation of rabbits for export to the United Kingdom to be adopted in the case of poultry and turkeys?

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

1.   British importers are interested in obtaining supplies of poultry from Australia, but the Ministry of Food has requested that all shipments be effected on their behalf.

2.   Yes. Following representations from poultry producers in several States, an approach was made to the British Ministry of Food, with a view to disposing of surplus fowls and turkeys. As a result, a contract was entered into between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Government for the shipment pf 1,000 tons of boiler fowls at is.5d. sterling f.o.b. and 380 tons of turkeys at 2s. 4d. per lb. sterling f.o.b. The Ministry indicated that immediately these quantities were in sight they would be prepared to negotiate for additional quantities. I understand that the British Ministry of Food utilizes the services of importers for subsequent distribution and sale of the poultry in the United Kingdom.

3.   The Government of the United Kingdom specifies the conditions under which poultry must be prepared. These provide that the killing facilities must be hygienic and ample chilling facilities available to ensure of the product arriving in a satisfactory condition.

4.   Yes. 5 and 6. No. The regulations provide that rabbits must be packed at approved establishments.

7.   No. Rabbits are trapped and gutted in country districts and transported to approved works for final inspection and packing. This procedure could not be followed in the case of poultry as the birds are shipped frozen and undrawn. In order to ensure that they are packed under hygienic conditions and comply with the specifications laid down by the Ministry, supervision must be exercised at approved killing premises.

Royal Australianair Force Aircraft Maintenance.

Mr Francis sasked the Minister for

Air, upon notice -

In view of the reported low standard of maintenance of service aircraft, will he supply a statement showing (a) the number of serviceflights completed successfully this year, and (b) the number of flights interrupted for technical reasons?

Mr Drakeford - Royal Australian Air Force Head-quarters records show that (a) 15,000 service flights by aircraft (other than training types) such as Cata- linas, Liberators, Mustangs, Beaufighters and Dakotas, have been successfully completed this year; (b) 29 aircraft were forced to land, due to engine trouble. These statistics clearly confirm that there is no foundation for any suggestion that the maintenance of service aircraft in the Royal Australian Air Force is of a low standard.

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