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Tuesday, 24 November 1959

Mr NELSON (NORTHERN TERRITORY, NORTHERN TERRITORY) - My question is directed to the Minister for Territories. Has the Minister's attention been directed to a report that Territory Rice Limited, an overseas company which holds large concessions over Northern Territory rice lands, intends to export its first shipment of rice, consisting of processed and paddy rice, to Hong Kong later this year? The report also states that future shipments to Hong Kong will consist of paddy rice only, and that a mill will be erected on an island adjacent to Hong Kong to process the paddy rice. If this report is correct, does it not mean that advantage is to be taken of cheap labour conditions existing in that part of the world, to the disadvantage of Australian labour and the detriment of the interests of the Northern Territory? As much Australian taxpayers' money has been spent on this project in the provision of all-weather roads, electricity and technical assistance, will the Minister undertake to guarantee that all benefits arising out of rice production in the Northern Territory will be retained, in the interests of the Territory and the Australian economy?

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