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Tuesday, 19 May 1936

Senator E B JOHNSTON (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   Has the attention of the Government been drawn to a statement by the Honorable A. Macallum, chairman of the Agricultural Bank Commission (Western Australia), reported in the West Australian of the 8th inst., that " the drought in the wheat areas is the most serious position the agricultural districts have faced since 1914 " ?

2.   In view of the increased gravity of the drought, is it the intention of the Government to comply with requests made by the Premier of Western Australia that the grant for drought relief in that State should be substantially increased?

3.   If not, what action (if any) does the Government intend to take for the relief of these settlers?

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.The right honorable the Prime Minister has supplied the following answers: -

1.   Yes.

2.   It is not proposed to make further provision beyond that already approved for wheat-growers' relief - i.e., £392,850, of which £161,600 has been allocated by the State for drought sustenance. The balance - £231,250 - will be paid to all wheat-growers on an acreage basis.

3.   The Commonwealth Government has already made provision for relief to wheatgrowers in Western Australia to the extent of approximately 3s. 3d. an acre. Any further relief is, therefore, a matter for the State Government.

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