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Thursday, 9 December 1965


Mr COUTTS (Griffith) .- I had stayed in my seat waiting for a Government supporter to support this Bill, particularly after hearing the observations made by the honorable member for Leichhardt (Mr. Fulton) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). But as nobody has risen I feel I must associate myself with my colleagues in supporting this very important measure which will play a major role in the development of this nation. The greatest industrial development in Australia announced in recent times has embraced this area. Like my friend from Leichhardt, who is a member of the Australian Labour Party, I know this area very well. I know the Gulf of Carpentaria, its peculiarities and its mineral deposits. I am very happy to be associated with support for this Bill.

The area of Queensland is 670,000 square miles. The area of the electorate represented by my friend from Leichhardt is 120,000 square miles. I am unbiased in the matter of Queensland development. Although I represent an electorate whose area is only 14 square miles, I associate myself with all who are prepared to develop this great northern State. The Bill provides finance for the development of the harbour of Weipa. Weipa is on the eastern side of the Gulf of Carpentaria and on the western side of Cape York Peninsula. It is very rich in minerals. It has the richest known deposits of bauxite, which is the base mineral for the production of aluminium, a metal which is challenging steel in the modern industrial world. Bauxite is available right on the seaboard. Cape York Peninsula is an area of Queensland which is rich in mineral lore. It has a grand history in the development of the State. A former Premier of Queensland who became very rich in speculation and whose reputation was somewhat doubtful because of his riches was associated with great development in this area. In the region of Coen and Ebagoola and further north, a great deal of mineral development took place early in Queensland's history.

With the small scale development of the gougers, the companies with no great financial backing, the development seemed to wane somewhat in north Queensland. Cape York Peninsula in particular went into decline. Now we find that there is a resurgence taking place. There is a great movement towards development the further we go north in Australia. In my contribution on the development of central Queensland during the debate on the Brigalow Lands Agreement Bill I referred to the great development that is taking place at Gladstone, where the greatest industrial complex in

Australia is now being constructed. This development is associated with the development of Weipa on Cape York Peninsula. It is true that large quantities of bauxite will be exported to Japan, Germany and other countries, but Weipa represents the real development of the aluminium industry in Australia. It has been announced - the development is in progress now - that at Gladstone £52 million will be spent on the alumina smelter because of the proximity of enormous coal fields which can provide cheap fuel in this area.

As I said earlier, there are difficulties in the Gulf of Carpentaria. This is a great inland gulf which is almost an inland sea. It is very shallow in some areas and it will be necessary to undertake dredging on a large scale. I can well imagine the complete disinterestedness in this matter of Government supporters, who are now yarning away about what is happening in Melbourne and Sydney while I am trying to emphasise the desire for development in northern Queensland. No honorable member on the Government side seems to be interested. No honorable member opposite has spoken on this measure. Honorable members opposite are heartily joking and laughing about the latest quips in " Man " and other magazines. They are not interested in northern Queensland, but I know that you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, are interested as you represent an electorate in Queensland.


Mr Turnbull - Mr. Deputy Speaker, I rise to order. The honorable member has just said that honorable members are laughing about jokes in " Man " and other journals. This is completely wrong. Is this allowed?







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