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Tuesday, 21 March 1961

Mr McEWEN - I am able to say that, consequent upon the Prime Minister's announcement, the Government desired to co-operate with certain State governments in the hope that -work would succeed the examination of certain projects which, in the long -term, will contribute to increasing Australia's export capacity. In the case of Western Australia, I wrote to the Premier suggesting that he might, as a first and best step, nominate appropriate officers to meet officers of the Commonwealth, who would be chosen for their knowledge of these matters, in order to discuss preliminary arrangements so that, with the completion of plans the actual work of reconstruction might be put in hand in the not too distant future. The Premier has acquiesced in this proposal, but discussions have not yet commenced at the official level. It is certain, however, that there will be no -avoidable delay on the part of this Government in proceeding with this matter. In case there is any suggestion of preference in relation to certain proposals which were advanced by .the Premier of South Australia, and to dispel any fears in that regard, I may state that the intention is that there should be a concurrent examination of the proposals in respect to both States, with the Commonwealth not wishing to indicate any preference.

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