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Friday, 13 November 1936

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

1.   Has the Government received an application from the Government of Western Australia for a grant for drought relief in that State?

2.   If so,what decision has been arrived at in the matter ?

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

1.   Yes.

2.   The Government of Western Australia has been informed that the Commonwealth Government regrets it cannot see its way clear to assume financial responsibility for losses arising from the results of drought as this is necessarily a State responsibility and is closely wrapped up in other phases of State government policy over which the Commonwealth Government has no jurisdiction, or control.

At the recent Loan Council meeting, however, sympathetic consideration was given to the difficult situation in which Western Australia is placed as a result of the drought, and the Loan Council unanimously approved of the allocation of an additional million pounds of loan money to that State with a view to affording it assistance to meet this unusual strain upon its financial resources. In this action the Commonwealth Government co-operated to the fullest possible extent. As regards the forthcoming loan, all governments, and in particular the Commonwealth Government, agreed to accept reduced proportions in order that Western Australia's share might be increased.

Senator E B JOHNSTON asked the Minister representing the Prime Ministers upon notice -

1.   Has the Government received the following resolution, carried at a mass meeting of farmers held at Dalwallinu, Western Australia, on the 24th October last: - "This combined meeting of farmers and representatives of the commercial community of the Dalwallinu Road Board district, realizing the disastrous effect of the present adverse seasonal conditions - (1) upon the farmers themselves; (2) upon the business section of the community; (3) upon the State and nation as a whole, desires to draw attention to the urgent and immediate necessity for the provision of adequate relief measures to enable our farmers to remain on their holdings in continued production in the wider interests of the State and Commonwealth " ?

2.   What action (if any) is the Commonwealth Government taking in the matter?

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

1.   Yes.

2.   Iinvite the honorable senator's attention to the reply given to-day to another question oh this subject.

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