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Wednesday, 10 April 1957

Mr BEALE - Dealing with the last part of the honorable gentleman's question first. T can understand that, representing a" he does a district which depends a gow? 'leal upon one defence factory, he is, very naturally, interested in the progress of the FN. rifle and the impact of its production upon the citizens whom he represents. It is not simply a matter of toolmakers in a project of this kind. That may be one factor, but there are many others as well. All I can say to the honorable gentleman is that we are pressing forward as fast as we can to get the FN. rifle in production. That, indeed. I think is evidenced by the decision which we took some little time ago, and which was announced, that we would not wait for final designs and would, with the co-operation of my colleague, the Minister for the Army, tool up for and manufacture a Mark I. of the rifle as soon as possible. I shall certainly take into consideration all of the aspects of the honorable gentleman's question, and he may be assured that we shall do what we can to get into production as quickly as possible. As to ammunition, that is another matter altogether. Factors, which are beyond my memory at the moment, influence the siting of such a factory, but the claims of Lithgow most certainly will not be overlooked.

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