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Tuesday, 29 June 1937


Senator MARWICK (Western Australia) , - I listened with much interest to the remarks of Senator James McLachlan, and entirely endorse his approval of the Government's policy to develop the Northern Territory. Similar attention should be given to the northwest coastal districts of Western Australia. I am convinced that, before many years elapse, we shall be compelled to do something to promote settlement in that part of my State if we wish to hold it. I cannot speak from personal knowledge of conditions in the Northern Territory, but I am familiar with my own State, and if the electors are good enough to return me when next I appeal to them I shall visit the territory to familiarize myself with its problems.

I commend the Government for its proposal to construct a vessel for fisheries research, and I trust that the claims of Western Australia will not be overlooked. The waters off the north-west of Western Australia teem with fish of great potential value. I hope that the research vessel to be built by the Government will investigate the possibilities there.

I protest against the delay in the issue of uniforms to members of the militia in Western Australia. It is disgraceful that patriotic and public-minded citizens, who give up so much of their time to undergo military training in order better to equip themselves to serve this country iu an emergency, should be expected also to provide their own uniforms. Early this year I was in Bunbury and met a number of residents there who complained that they had to do all their military training in their own clothes. The least that the military authorities can do is to provide these men with uniforms as quickly as possible. Parliament will be asked to vote a tremendous sum of money this year for defence purposes; it is not too much to ask that a portion of the amount be set aside for uniforms for civilian soldiers.

I hope that the Government will give serious consideration to the request of wheat-growers in "Western Australia to participate in the subsidy provided for the purchase of fertilizers. This subsidy has been the means of encouraging pasture improvement and orchard culture, so expenditure on this account has not been lost to the nation. I hope that wheat-growers will, this year, be eligible for the benefits of that subsidy.

Payments made under the Apple and Pear Bounty Act have also benefited our producers. As most honorable senators are aware very low prices have ruled this year for apples and pears. Growers in my State have suffered very heavy losses and they are finding difficulty in carrying on. They have approached the Government for assistance, which, I regret to state, has not been forthcoming. I hope that during the .coming year it will be possible to increase the bounty. This is an industry which is capable of considerable expansion. Apples can be grown in soil which is of little use for growing other crops; the light gravelly soil which is so suitable for them does not generally give good returns if put under other crops.

At Albany, in Western Australia, there is a woollen mill which, in my opinion, is entitled to greater consideration in connexion with contracts for the military and railway requirements of the Commonwealth. In considering military contracts, ocean freights between. Albany and manufacturing centres in Melbourne are taken into consideration. The Navigation Act operates harshly against Western Australia. At times cloth from the Albany mill is sent 300 miles by rail to Fremantle and then shipped to the Eastern States for manufacture. Probably some of it is returned later to Western Australia for use by the militia there. I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence to look into this matter.







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