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Friday, 13 May 1921

Senator E.D. MILLEN (New South

Wales - Minister for Repatriation) [2.43].- I move-

That this Bill be now read a second time.

Some months ago the Senate passed a Bill approving of an agreement between the Commonwealth Government and Mr. Basil Lathrop Murray, under which the Western Australian farmers, joined in a corporated movement, were to raise £300,000 for the purpose of erecting grain elevators, terminal and otherwise, and in consideration of that expenditure the Commonwealth Government undertook to advance £550,000 by way of subsidy. Those connected with the movement, after further consideration, have come to the conclusion that it is advisable to start operations upon a somewhat less ambitious scale. It is proposed, therefore, to vary the original agreement to the extent of permitting the cooperative society to commence operations on a. capital of £250,000, on the understanding that the amount to be contributed by the Commonwealth Government shall be reduced pro rata to £440,000. One of the conditions of the agreement is that the farmers themselves must spend £100,000 before the Commonwealth can be called upon to advance any money. They now propose to eliminate many country elevators for their first effortand to confine themselves to the erection of terminal elevators. The matter was so recently before the Senate that itis not necessary for me to say very much in connexion with this Bill. This is one of those cases in which people coming to the Government for assistance show their willingness to help themselves. It is some evidence of their bona fides in submitting this proposal that they undertake to contribute their own money to make it a success. There is a vast difference between those who merely sit on the Government door-mat and ask for public money, and those who come forward and are able to say thatthey are finding their own money as an. evidence of their good faith and their belief inthe. soundness of their project, and then ask the Government for the loan of certain sums. That principle has already been approved by this Parliament in the passing of the previous measure. The only matter for consideration now, I submit, is whether the new proposal which, in effect, reduces the Government's liability pro rata-the assets remaining the same - ought to be approved. Those who opposed the original agreement submitted can obviously approve of the present proposal.

Senator Earle - Hear, hear! This is a modification of a bad deal.

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