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Tuesday, 3 December 1935

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) . - Some years ago, the States agreed to engage in a survey of this character, but nothing practical was done. A few months ago, a conference took place in Melbourne between the Ministers for Mines from the several States and their advisers in connexion with the grants made by the Commonwealth to the States last year for the assistance of the mining industry. The substance of the article to which Senator Duncan-Hughes has referred was brought under the notice of the members of that conference; in fact, a paper which contained much the same information as that article was circulated among the Ministers. I am in favour of this survey, but one has to approach such a consideration with circumspection because it is a function of the States.

Senator Gibson - The States have done a good deal in that regard.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The suggestion was made that there should be a co-operative effort on the part of the Commonwealth and State officers; but I fancy that, owing to the haste with which the business of the conference was conducted, the matter was not thoroughly understood. The upshot of it was that the proposal had the support of some of the eminent technicians present, but otherwise it was not received "with that enthusiasm which might have been expected. As the result, it was referred to a sub-committee consisting of Sir David Rivett, Dr. Keith Ward of South Australia and two other geologists from New South Wales and Victoria. The subcommittee will report at a later date whether anything can be done in the direction of making the desired survey. I assure the honorable senator that the Government has every sympathy for such a work. The comparatively small survey which has already been embarked upon by the Commonwealth in co-operation with the Governments of Queensland and Western Australia is proving quite successful; some valuable knowledge has been gained, and, possibly before very long, results of practical value to Australia will be achieved.

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