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Thursday, 26 November 1936

Senator BROWN (Queensland) . - For " Investigations in connexion with the development of Northern Australia ", a vote of £1,000 is proposed. A similar sum was voted last year, but no expenditure was incurred. What is the explanation?

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE (Western Australia - Minister for External Affairs) [10.43]. - Pursuant to the policy of the Government in respect of the development' of Northern Australia by means of chartered companies, a proposal made by lessees in the Barkly Tableland-McArthur River area was investigated during the financial year 1934-35. Briefly, the proposal was to amalgamate existing land leases in the Barkly Tableland area under the control of a co-operative company, which, with the development of a port at Vanderlin Island, having suitable communication with grazing areas of the tableland, would be able to engage in the chillea beef trade. The investigation revealed" that the proposal did not possess the economic attractions claimed for it, and for this reason the Commonwealth Government declined to lend the financial support required by the proposed cooperative company. The sub-committee of Cabinet dealing with this matter gave consideration during last year to several minor projects connected with the Northern Territory, the investigation of which did not involve expenditure. The provision for 1936-37 is intended to cover the cost of the investigation of other similar proposals which may he made during the course of the year.

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