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Wednesday, 21 October 1964


Senator GORTON (Victoria) (Minister for Works) . - I can say very little about the last topic raised by Senator Benn. I understand that the honorable senator has already approached Mr. Hasluck and the present Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes). I would not be" prepared at the moment to accept that the full story on this matter has been told here, or that either Mr. Hasluck, Mr. Barnes or the Administration is as completely unjust or as arbitrary as one might be led to believe after listening only to what Senator Benn has said. I should like to know why the man was away - whether he had leave or not. From what Senator Benn has said obviously the man was occupying a government residence. Was his rent paid? AH these matters have to be looked into and apparently have been looked into by the relevant Ministers.

Senator McClellandand Senator Benn raised the subject of police unrest some time ago. Let my say at once that the pay and conditions of the native police are the same as the pay and conditions of the Pacific Islands Regiment; there is no difference between the two. There is no doubt that the quarters of the Pacific Islands Regiment are better than those of the police, but there is also no doubt that an improvement in the quarters of the police is being progressively brought about. You cannot just wave a wand and make the quarters of the police equal to those of the Pacific Islands Regiment. The main cause of trouble in one section of the police appeared to be that the men concerned had been promised that uniforms would be supplied to them by a certain date. The Department of Supply could not supply the uniforms by that date and the police thought they had been let down. That, coupled with the fact that one consignment of tinned meat was bad, led to an outbreak there. Apparently there was no trouble elsewhere. Reports from Goroka, Madang and Lae indicated that in those places there was no dissatisfaction although inquiries were being made about when the new police uniforms would be made available.

Senator Bennreferred to the teaching of agriculture to natives and suggested that perhaps farmers from Australia could be sent to New Guinea. I do not know that farmers suddenly transferred from Australia to New Guinea would be able to teach practical farming methods. A wheat farmer from the plains of Australia would not necessarily know very much about the proper agricultural practices in the mountainranges of New Guinea, where the climate is so different. It may well be that in some parts of Queensland conditions are similar to those in New Guinea. But in fact a good deal is being done to teach agriculture to people living in the Territory. By way of illustration, during 1962-63 the staff engaged on extension work - the spreading of agricultural knowledge among the indigenous people - included 175 professional and subproffessional officers, 38 auxiliary division officers and 487 trained and partly trained indigenous assistants. Of these 114, 5 and 293 respectively were engaged in actual agricultural extension work in the trust Territory.

Agricultural training is going on and there are approved training courses. A full agrisultural diploma course, with intermediate certificate entry standard, is to be given at Vudal Agricultural College which is being built near Keravat in the New Britain district. This college will commence receiving students this year and will be able to give the sort of on-the-spot training which, quite rightly, Senator Benn believes should be given. Approval has been given for a twoyear sub-diploma certificate course including both theoretical and practical instruction in agriculture, botany, plant pests and diseases, agricultural economics, farming mathematics and English expression. Some students who began this course at Mageri Agricultural Training Centre have now been transferred to the Popondetta Agricultural Training Institute which was completed early in 1963. There are now 44 students there, including six from New Guinea. Other similar courses are in operation in the Territory.

The point is that action is being taken along the general lines that Senator Benn mentioned, perhaps not precisely in the way he suggested. Senator McClelland inquired about the training of indigenous people for road-making work. There are technical secondary schools at which the indigenous people are, I am informed, being trained to handle road-making machinery such as graders. They are trained also in the maintenance of this equipment and this work will no doubt be extended. I am not sure, but I think this is the type of practical engineering work which Senator McClelland had in mind.

I hope I understood Senator Cooke's point correctly. I think he wanted to know how much revenue was actually raised in Papua and New Guinea as distinct from the money supplied by Australia to the Territory. Last year £11,376,000 was raised in Papua and New Guinea and the estimate for 1964-65 is £12,704,000. Off hand, I cannot give the honorable senator the exact ratio between the amount of revenue raised in the Territory and the sum shown in the present Estimates. I have not worked it out in my head, but with the knowledge of the sum total of internal revenue raised in the Territory the ratio can easily be worked out by the honorable senator. I do not know of any moneys expended in New Guinea other than those mentioned by Senator Cooke. Possibly some money spent on the Pacific Islands Regiment would come from Army sources. There is a very small Naval establishment, the money for which would come from the Naval vote.


Senator Cooke - Paragraph 232 on page 177 of the Auditor-General's report refers to additional revenue expended last year amounting to several millions.


Senator GORTON - You mentioned that.


Senator Cooke - Would that be additional to the amount you have just mentioned?


Senator GORTON - Possibly it would be. Some expenditure for the Department of Works would come from the vote for the Department of Territories, some from the vote for the Department of the Army, some from the vote relating to lighthouses, and some from the vote for the Department of Civil Aviation. It is difficult to dissect the expenditure exactly, but I shall ask the officers of the Department lo try to do so. If the honorable senator will write me a letter 1 shall ask the officers of the Department to make a dissection and I shall let him have it. I move -

That the question be now put.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Proposed expenditure noted.







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