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Friday, 18 November 1927

Senator HERBERT HAYS (Tasmania) . - I do not consider that it should be a function of the Commonwealth Savings Bank to advance money to assist the gold-mining industry. It is quite another matter to suggest that the Government, perhaps through the Commonwealth Bank, should come to the aid of the gold- mining industry, which at present is faced with many difficulties. The Bank is to be empowered to advance money to assist other industries; but in those cases the risk is not so great as it would be if advances were made to assist gold-mining. If the principle is sound it should be extended to the mining industry generally, and every branch of primary production. I recognize the benefit the gold-mining industry has been to the Commonwealth and to Western Australia in particular, and whilst I appreciate Senator Lynch's efforts to assist it, I think that his enthusiasm in this instance has overshadowed his discretion. The best way in which the Government can assist the industry is to make money available to assist in the discovery of new mineral fields. We can all appreciate the optimism of the men associated with mining, but they fail to appreciate that every ounce of gold taken from a mine means that there remains one ounce less to be won later. If the: gold-mining industry is to be assisted, it should be assisted by means of bounties, and not out of the savings of the people. Believing that those savings should not be expended in speculative enterprises, I cannot support the amendment.

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