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Thursday, 8 August 1946

Mr CHIFLEY - It will be generally admitted that not nearly as much was done as might have been done in earlier years in providing amenities, including the extension of electricity supply, in rural areas. Past governments must accept responsibility for that state of affairs, although it has been claimed that when labour and materials were available difficulty was experienced in obtaining the requisite finance. During and since the war, despite the great demand for materials and man-power, a move has been made in the extension of electricity in. country areas, which I wholeheartedly support. As to the second part of the honorable member's question, all applications of local-governing bodies, county councils and other semi - government authorities for approval of loans or the provision of funds to carry out such works are examined in the first instance by the State 'Co-ordinator of Works. That practice will be continued this year. When a project has been reported upon by the State Co-ordinator of Works it is referred to the Commonwealth Co-ordinator-General of Works and', subject to his endorsement, is brought before the National Works Council. The consent of the State Premiers and Treasurers must be obtained before approval is given. I assume that the project put forward by the Clarence County Council has already been examined by the New South- Wales Co-ordinator of Works. I shall inquire as to the position of the proposal.

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