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Tuesday, 8 June 1926

Senator McLACHLAN (South Australia) . - I find myself troubled with the grouping of the various machines included in this sub-item, so I shall confine my remarks to cementmaking, road-making, and stonecrushing machines. In my opinion, handoperated travelling and portable cranes, coal conveyors, and ash -handling plant are in a different category. The question of the efficacy of this class of machinery made in Australia has been raised in this debate. It seems to me that we are in the transition stage from rail traction to road traction, and that every support should be given in the various State Parliaments, and also by this Parliament, to those charged with the responsibility of road-construction. If we are to judge the success of roadmaking machines manufactured in Australia by the condition of the roads, we find in my own State, and also in portions of New South Wales that I have visited, we can only come to the conclusion that we know very little, if anything, about the business. I have been in touch lately with some people from the United States of America, who take an intelligent and scientific interest in road-construction. They advise me that Australian methods are little short of lamentable ; that our roads will never stand up to the traffic that has to pass over them. Unfortunately, in outlying portions of the country, at all events, there appears to be an entire absence of the application of scientific principles to road construction. We are about to develop a new province in the Northern Territory. I do not know who is going to pay the duty on road-making machines that will be required for developmental work there - I notice that one illustrious member of another place has suggested that instead of building railways, the whole of the traction should be on roads to be constructed - but in view of all the facts, we should strongly oppose the imposition of any duties that may lead to an increase in their cost to Australian users. For this reason, I am supporting Senator Needham.

Senator Crawford - Some of the roads in America cost more than the railways.

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