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Friday, 22 July 1921

Senator WILSON (South Australia) . - I wish to direct attention to the lax administration of the Department in connexion with the realization- of- used machinery and material required for the construction of the East- West railway. Recently I was in Port Augusta, and saw, standing 'in the open, immense stacks of implements and machinery, which, of course, deteriorates very quickly.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is that, construction plant?

Senator WILSON - Yes. A gentleman I met wanted to buy some of the Government tip trucks for the salt company in South Australia, but he became so disgusted with the delay in the negotiations that he bought elsewhere, although the Commonwealth trucks would have suited him much better, and he was prepared to pay market rates for them. I do not know what value the departmental officials place upon these tip trucks, but I sold some myself recently at £20 apiece. Without exaggeration, I can say that I saw hundreds of picks exposed to the weather. All this material should have been sold upon the completion of the railway, because a few years ago there was a great shortage of all such 'requirements throughout Australia, and fair prices would have been realized. I even came across a number of railway motor tricycles still exposed to the weather.

Senator de Largie - They are to be seen lying at several sidings along the whole length of the line.

Senator WILSON - That ' only emphasizes what I say. Of course, we do not expect the Minister to bo riding about the country in order to get acquainted with all such details of administration, but they have their officials, and should be informed. Senators, also, have their responsibilities. It is their duty to bring these matters directly under the notice of the Government, so. that the position may be remedied. There is a ready sale for this material to-day. I hope the Minister will directthe attention of the Minister for Works and Railways to the matter.

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