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Thursday, 27 April 1961

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) (Treasurer) - There can, of course, be no direct comparison between the Commonwealth's Snowy Mountains project and the Queensland Government's Mount Isa railway project. One is a Commonwealth project, the other a State project. They are both, however, thoroughly economic propositions, and it is certainly not correct, as a matter of substance, to say that the taxpayers' money invested in the Snowy Mountains project is not recoverable. As is known, the charges to the electricity commissions of Victoria and New South Wales will be made on a basis which will cover the capital cost of the project and its maintenance. The Mount Isa project also will provide funds to enable the amortization of the expenditure. Indeed, it should prove a profitable investment for the Queensland Government and its railway system, as honorable .gentlemen who have studied this matter will know. T remind honorable members, particularly those who come from north Queensland, that the financial provision which the Commonwealth has made for the Mount Isa railway is in point of fact the largest provision that has been made by any Commonwealth government for a State project in the history of our federation. I hope that the Queensland people will appreciate that point and recognize that we are genuinely desirous of promoting this very valuable development that is occurring m their State.

Mr Calwell - I wish to make a personal explanation, Mr. Speaker.

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