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Wednesday, 23 November 1927

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - Senator Reid has opened up a new phase of this question. During the last election campaign the Government said that, if returned to power, it would introduce a scheme to provide homes for the people. This bill is the result of that promise. Now Senator Reid says that the Government's policy is to require the States to do the work, otherwise they will receive no benefit from the scheme. "The Government knows that the housing schemes of the various States have been working well for many years, and that there has been no difficulty in obtaining the money to finance them.

Senator Reid - Some of the States have experienced great difficulty in financing their housing schemes.

Senator NEEDHAM - Whatever money is required is provided through the Loan Council. So far there has been no difficulty in that direction. The Government's policy can now be summarized in the words, " Take it or leave it." Is that a policy for any government to adopt? i:»i.r>.i

The Minister unblushingly tells us that the Government had an informal discussion with five of the State authorities.

Senator Sir William Glasgow - I did not ' use the word " informal."

Senator NEEDHAM - The Minister said that there was a discussion; but when questioned whether the State authorities agreed to participate in the scheme he was unable to give a definite reply, except that the States were not. aware of the Government's actual proposals until this bill had been introduced. I cannot understand a conference being held under those conditions. The whole scheme should have been placed before the States. So far, Western Australia has not joined in any discussion of this scheme. I can hardly think that that important State was ignored in the matter. Possibly the Government of Western Australia had good reasons for not participating in the discussion. Seeing, that the bill provides that the States must amend their existing legislation before they can take advantage of this scheme, it would be better for us to postpone further consideration of this measure until there has been another conference between the Commonwealth and the States.

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