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Wednesday, 8 May 1957

Mr Ward d asked the Minister for Supply, upon notice -

1.   What lands were acquired by the Commonwealth, and from whom, for the purposes of the Woomera rocket range and the Maralinga bombtesting area?

2.   What was the total cost of acquiring these lands?

3.   Is it intended to acquire further land to extend these areas: if so, what are the details?

4.   Were any aborigines living in, or in the vicinity of, the areas acquired, and are any living in, or in the vicinity of, any areas to be acquired?

5.   If so, what arrangements were made by the Commonwealth Government to ensure their protection against any ill-effects from tests carried out in these areas?

Mr Beale - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   Land for the Woomera rocket range was acquired by lease from the South Australian Government, and comprises small areas as under - Woomera township and technical area, 23 square miles; Launching area, 30 square miles; Lake Hart - a particular range - 4 acres. The areas so obtained were deleted from existing pastoral leases by consent of the lessees. In respect of Maralinga, 1,200 square miles have been leased. Giles meteorological station in Western Australia occupies a very small area, and a lease of approximately 50 acres is being sought from the Western Australian Government.

2.   No cost was involved in acquiring these areas. £1,336 was paid to Arkoona Limited in compensation for the area which the company agreed to delete from its existing pastoral lease at Woomera.

3.   At this stage it is not practicable to say what additional lease, if any, will be required for the purposes of these undertakings.

4.   No aborigines were living in or near the vicinity of the Woomera and Maralinga areas other than those employed on pastoral properties. However, there are some tribalized aborigines in the Rawlinson ranges in Western Australia outside the Maralinga area where Giles meteorological station is located.

5.   Trials carried out in Woomera have not involved any risk to the inhabitants of the area, consequently no special measures have been necessary to ensure protection of aborigines. At the time operations are carried out at Maralinga, constant patrols by air and ground have been made to ensure that no human beings were in the areas who could possibly be affected by tests. Although Giles is beyond any possible danger area there is attached to the meteorological station a native welfare officer who looks after the general well-being of any aborigines who may come into the vicinity of this station.

Royal Australian Navy.

Mr Howse e asked the Minister for the

Navy, upon notice -

1.   How many houses for serving personnel have been built or purchased by the Royal Australian Navy in 1954-55, 1955-56 and 1956-57?

2.   In respect of how many Navy personnel has their time expired during the same periods?

3.   How many personnel have re-engaged over this period?

4.   How many personnel have been recruited in 1954-55, 1955-56 and 1956-57?

5.   What is the established strength of the Naval Reserve?

6.   What is the actual strength of the Naval Reserve?

7.   What proportion of the present Naval Reserve strength came from national service trainees?

Mr Davidson - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   1954-55, 217; 1955-56, 52; 1956-57, six (of which three are still in course of construction).

2.   1954-55, 1,149; 1955-56, 640; 1956-57, 2,003;

In addition, over the same period discharges due to sickness, compassionate reasons and reversions to the Royal Navy and other miscellaneous causes the following numbers have also terminated their service in the Royal Australian Navy: - 1954-55, 1,078; 1955-56, 633; 1956-57, 624.

3.   1954-55, 281; 1955-56, 96; 1956-57, 145.

4.   1954-55, 759; 1955-56, 1,004; 1956-57, 792

(including 100 naval artificer apprentices).

Note. - Figures for 1956-57 are complete until 31st March, 1957.

5.   -


Excess is due to the large increase in R.A.F.R. numbers over the last two to three years and is a direct result of the number of discharges from the Permanent Naval Forces over a similar period.

6.   See answer to question 5 above.

7.   The number " 7094 " in answer to question 5 above includes 5,102 national service trainees still with a training obligation to discharge. Actual transferees from national service trainees to the established strength of the Royal Australian Naval Reserve number 649.

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