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Thursday, 16 May 1957

Mr HASLUCK (CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Territories) - It is a little early in the season to give a final answer to the question asked by the honorable member for Darling Downs. During the current season the Administration planted about 200 acres of rice in three different areas - at the Sixty Mile, Humpty Doo and Beatrice Hills. The purpose of that planting of 200 acres was solely experimental, continuing the work that had been going on for a number of years in investigating various problems of rice growing. That crop, on those three areas totalling 200 acres, is now being harvested and we have not yet to hand the final results. Quite apart from the Administration's experiment, a commercial venture - Territory Rice - planted a very much larger area. They commenced the season with aerial sowing on to a dry seed bed, and while the seed was still lying on the ground flocks of geese came and gobbled it up. So it was necessary for them to re-seed practically the whole of that area, and that gave them a rather later start than they had planned to have. But I understand that, in the final result, Territory Rice will harvest between 750 and 1,000 acres. I am not sure of the exact area, but that harvesting is about to commence. I understand that the general prospects are very good. On the question of milling, Territory Rice obtained a site at what is known locally as " The Eighteen Mile " for the erection of a rice mill for the treatment of the grain. 1 might take the opportunity, in view of some rumours that are current, of assuring the honorable member that the energy and resolution with which Territory Rice are carrying on this experiment is undiminished. In fact, they have all the confidence in the future that they had when they first started.

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