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Thursday, 26 November 1936

Senator COLLINGS (Queensland) . - I am not in a position to corroborate or deny the statements made by Senator Foll in connexion with the Forestry School at Canberra; but I am confident that the honorable senator would not make them unless he was in possession of reliable information. I compliment the school on the excellent work that it is doing; but I do not suggest that it could not be improved. However I have no desire to pose as an expert on forestry matters. Quite recently Mr. A. V. Galbraith, Chairman of the Forests Commission of Victoria, paid a visit to Queensland in order to confer with forestry officials of that State on the utilization of hardwoods. He said that during the five depression years more than 25,000 men had been employed in Victorian forests, and the Government was convinced that every penny spent in that way was highly reproductive and helped to develop the State forest asset. The Melbourne Age, of the 8th October last, published the following comment on evidence given by Mr. Galbraith before the Public Works Committee: -

The increased intensity and frequency of flooding in the Latrobe River was due, he said, to the absence of a rational scheme of land utilization. From the summit of the southern boundary of the Latrobe catchment to the lofty slopes of the northern limit the pro tecting forest which maintained nature's balance had been ruthlessly swept from mountain slopes by axe and fire. The destructive forces of erosion were unleashed, and fertile soils were carried away for ever.

It is obvious that the Forestry Department is most important to the development of the State.

Speaking on forestry matters some time ago, I made a. statement in this chamber which was received with such general surprise by honorable senators that I fear they doubted its accuracy. I subsequently communicated with the Forestry Department of Queensland and I now desire to read the reply which I received, because the latter part of it refers to what the Queensland Department is prepared to do in respect of sending students to the Forestry School at Canberra. The letter states -

Several months ago Mr. Rupert Beale, of Beale and Company, Sydney, advised me that he had purchased a Walnut tree for £1,100 delivered in Millaa Millaa railway yard.

I made that statement in this chamber, but it was received with some doubt. The letter continues -

The tree was cut on private property and was the largest yet recorded. I understand that although it was no great distance away from railhead, its existence was unknown until recently. The butt log was 20 feet centre girth and was quite sound - which is rather unusual in this species. Owing to its size it had to be fl itched or trimmed with a broadaxe before it could pass through the railway tunnels on the way to Cairns.

I mention that fact because it is evidence of the kind of timber that is grown in Queensland. The Director further states -

Regarding the forestry school, I have to advise that this department has always supported the Commonwealth school since its inception, and more students from Queensland have completed the full course than from any other State. At present there are four cadets undergoing the training course preliminary to proceeding to Canberra. Two should be ready to commence at the forestry school in 1938 and two in 1939, but if the continuation of the school depended upon an increased entry in 1937, I would be prepared to send the first two early next year and postpone the usual year of held experience. It would be preferable, of course, for the cadets to undergo this year of field training before proceeding to the school, and I trust it will not bo necessary to sacrifice this year of valuable experience in order to ensure the continuation of the school.

That shows that the Queensland Forestry Department is prepared to co-operate with the Australian Forestry School at Canberra in every possible way.

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