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Wednesday, 13 May 1942

Senator ASHLEY (New South WalesPostmasterGeneral and Minister for Information) (Minister for Information) - by leave - Last week a formal adjournment motion relating to the coal-mining industry was moved by Senator McBride, who alleged that coal was being transported from northern coal mines to the south coast of New South Wales in order to keep war industries in operation in that locality. The honorable senator's remarks were as follows : -

Apparently, the public, and indeed the miners, do not realize what continual stoppages mean to our war production. Owing to the frequent stoppages on the south coast not enough coal is being produced at one place to keep important war industries in full production. In order to meet this need about 5,000 tons of coal per week is being railed from Newcastle to the south coast - a distance of about 150 miles. This is an intolerable position. At present, one of the real bottle-necks in our industrial and service organizations is transport, and because of the irresponsibility of certain miners, this huge volume of railway space is taken from other essential uses in order to carry coal from Newcastle, as it were, to Newcastle.

I questioned the honorable senator's statement at the time, and I told him that I would obtain further information on the matter. Since then, I have been in touch with the Coal Commissioner, Mr. Mighell, who has supplied me with the following statement: -

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