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Tuesday, 6 August 1946

Mr DEDMAN (Corio) (Minister for Post-war Reconstruction and Minister in enlarge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) . - It must' be borne in mind that this measure has been introduced as the result of an agreement between the ' Commonwealth Government and the Government of New. South Wales. The effect of the clause is that the safety code which has been in existence in New South. Wales for a long time will remain in existence. The code stipulates a number of safety provisions that must be observed, including diameter widths, tunnelwidths, ventilation shafts, and so on. The circumstances that prevailed prior to the introduction of this legislation will continue in force until such time as any new recommendations made by an inspector of mines and an officer of the board may . be put into operation. As the honorable member has said, in certain instances, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Mines in New South Wales may direct certain officials of the Mines Department to make reports on safety matters. The safety code as it stands will be preserved; but when a matter arises requiring the State Inspector of Mines to make a decision, he will act in conjunction with an officer of the board.

Mr Spender - Only for the purpose of making a report.

Mr DEDMAN - In respect of any matters on which previously the inspector of mines had to make a decision under the safety code of New South Wales, that officer will make a report to the hoard and it will make the final decision. Therefore, the position referred to by the honorable member for Warringah in which, according to him, the Minister for Mines of New South Wales made a certain decision in regard to the extraction of pillars, will not exist. Whether or not the extraction of pillars relates to safety, the board will make the decision and that decision will be final.

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