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Wednesday, 10 June 1970

Mr SWARTZ (Darling Downs) (Minister for National Development) - The Government does not accept this amendment. At a later stage I will move an amendment to this clause. However, I shall refer to that later. The purpose of clause 17 is to set out the functions and powers of the Corporation. The reason for the establishment of the Corporation has been explained in my second reading speech and in statements to the House by my predecessor. The Corporation is a means - and a very satisfactory means - of retaining for use in Australia an organisation which has played a very important part in our development. After the conclusion of major construction work on what has been the largest engineering programme in Australia we will be retaining for use in a variety of ways a very substantial number of very skilled personnel who will carry into a new field the skills which they have shown under the previous authority. Clause 17 sets out the functions which, briefly, are to carry out investigations and furnish advice on materials used in engineering works, the siting and design of engineering works and the supervision of contracts for such works.

The amendment moved on behalf of the Opposition by the honourable member for Batman (Mr Garrick) relates to overseas work or work outside Australia. The clause as it stands allows the Corporation to engage in construction activities or to supervise construction. We feel that this gives to the Corporation an opportunity to pursue in a very substantial way the excellent work which it has shown it was capable of undertaking in Australia in the past. On these grounds we feel that the clause should remain as it is and we therefore will not accept the amendment.

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