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Wednesday, 10 June 1970

Mr GRASSBY (Riverina) - I want to say one or two things at this stage of the debate on this Bill in order to place on the record the objectives of the Opposition. I refer first to the facts associated with the birth of the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric scheme. This subject has been referred to by the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull) and I want to mention it briefly. Acknowledgement of the inspiration to launch the Snowy Mountains scheme has been made on several occasions by Sir William Hudson who was the first Commissioner of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority. Sir William Hudson paid a very warm tribute to a body which has not been mentioned in this debate. I want, to mention it briefly. The body 1 refer to is the Murrumbidgee Valley Water Users Association, lt included men of all parties, lt included men of great vision. It included Australians who deserve a page in the history of the nation and a mention in the records of this Parliament. The Murrumbidgee Valley Water Users Association conceived the idea. They pushed it and fought for it. They look it eventually to a very great- Australian, Joseph Benedict Chifley. He made the key decision which in fact launched this great venture.

The detail of that history, as I have said just now, has been set forth on many occasions by Sir William Hudson. Recently when he was accorded an his retirement :i valedictory by the Mumimbidgee Valley Water Users Association, he paid tribute to the inspiration that came from that valley giving birth to this great scheme. 1 think thai it is regrettable to have the travesties of history that have been attempted tonight. The men who conceived this scheme were great men indeed. They were drawn from a very wide political spectrum. They took the idea to a very great Prime Minister. That was how the decision was made and that was haw the scheme came into being. I might say (hat this and the other amendments are merely attempts by the Opposition at this time to patch up what is regarded as a very unwholesome measure marking the end of one of the greatest national enterprises that we have had. In conclusion I would just say that on the change of Government the amendments we are moving tonight will not be needed because the great authority will be reconstructed as the major water development authority of this nation to take us into the new century.

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