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Thursday, 11 April 1957

Mr CRAMER (BENNELONG, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Army) - The question raised by the honorable member for Maribyrnong is a very important one. It is true that we have been very worried about married quarters for members of the Army, and, as he says, that a certain number of houses were to be provided for the Army under the new Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement, which commenced about a year ago. Under that agreement the Army was to have received, for use as married quarters, 327 homes from the States. The year has almost expired, and up to date we have received only 129 of those homes. The strange feature of the matter is that, of those 129 homes, 104 have been received from two States, and 25 only from the other four States. I do not know whether there is significance in the fact that the two States that have provided the larger number of homes have Liberal governments, and that the four States which have provided only 25 homes are controlled by Labour governments. Victoria and South Australia have done magnificently in helping the Army in this matter, and Tasmania has done a very good job. The outstanding feature is. though, that New South Wales, from which we would have expected the greatest number of homes because it is the State with the greatest population, has provided precisely one house during the year. I remind honorable members that New South Wales, as I understand from recent discussions in this chamber, has had ample materials and man-power available to carry on building activities. It appears that while the money is available, the State of New South Wales is not using it even to provide houses for the Army and other services, which it previously contracted to do.

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