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Tuesday, 2 June 1970

Mr TURNER (BRADFIELD, NEW SOUTH WALES) -1- Wei I. he says that that is right, lt is quite right. He could not refer to economic aspects. He was very wise' to steer clear of any attempt to justify this scheme on economic grounds. He spoke of the humanitarian aspect. 1 wish to say this: I do not deny the humanitarian aspect. I do not deny this. Having got ourselves into the fix that we are in at Bundaberg we will probably now have to go ahead with the scheme. I speak tonight not with a view to voting against the Bundaberg scheme; I speak on a matter of principle. I said at the beginning of my speech that I was not unduly concerned about the scheme, but in the future, for heaven's sake let us not continue to foster uneconomic production. Let us hear no more about expanding sugar production. Let us hear no more about expanding dairying production as we have heard from that successful warrior in Victoria who has a scheme for developing more dairies in his State.

May I say something in conclusion about the role of the State in this matter, lt has been said that the principle that the States come up with the proposals . that they consider have first priority, and who are we in this Parliament to question the recommendations that a State may make? Let me say this: If something is done well let it still be done by those who do it: but if it is. done badly I think we must look at it with a critical eye and say: Is this the best way to do this thing? If the State has come up, as Western Australia did with the Ord scheme - a patent white elephant and a failure if ever there was one, 8 1 00m down the drain because there was an election in Western Australia - with the Bundaberg scheme just because some member is in trouble in the Bundaberg area, and if we continue always to apply the old pork barrel politics in this way then I think the question must arise in any unbiased mind - and I: am afraid there are not many here - is this the best way to decide upon projects, that is to accept the recommendations of the States. Before we accept the recommendations of States we should have cost benefit studies and the studies should be publicised, so that if the projects are phony or if they are for political purposes only, then because of the publicity the whole world will see that they are phoney, that they are political, that they are a waste of public money which is needed for a score of other things with infinitely higher priority, whether in regard to rural industries, education or whatever it may be. If we are to establish a firm economy it must be done on the basis of secondary industries, and education and science have an enormous part to play in this. That is national development. That, is the kind of national development that will make this country strong. We will not become strong by sponsoring schemes to bolster uneconomic primary industries.

MrCORBETT (Maranoa) [10.231-1 have very much pleasure indeed in supporting the Bill and in opposing the amendment that has been moved by the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson). Before I proceed with a summary of my view of this scheme I would like to make some comments about some of the remarks made in the course of this debate. Firstly I would like to say that although this does not happen very often I do on this occasion agree with some of the comments of the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Turner). I agree with him when he said that the amendment would defeat the Bill. He put this very clearly and I was surprised to hear him receive some support from the other side of the House.

Dr Patterson - The amendment does not defeat the Bill.

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