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Tuesday, 27 October 1964


Senator LILLICO (Tasmania) . - I agree completely with the remarks of Senator O'Byrne concerning the dissatisfaction and the frustrations that are felt by soldier settlers in Tasmania. This state has been brought about because they do not know what their commitments are and how long the present condition of uncertainty will continue. This is true of Flinders Island where, I believe, the trouble is that delays occur, even though the required number of years have elapsed, in putting many of the soldier settlers on to permanent leases. It is true also that because of the peculiar difficulties and hardships of soldier settlers on King Island, and because a deputation of settlers from that island, with the Tasmanian Minister for Agriculture, waited upon the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann), a committee was set up to inquire into the whole position. I thought at the time that it was a joint StateCommonwealth Government committee, but I was given to understand, in a reply to a question that I asked in this place, that it was a State committee. However, there was an officer of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics on that committee, which must have commenced its inquiry some 18 months or two years ago.


Senator Wright - It was two years ago.


Senator LILLICO - I thought it was at least that time. I know that the committee was completing its report months ago on the big difficulties that exist on King Island, and making recommendations on what could be done to keep the settlers on the land there. I referred the matter to members of the Tasmanian Parliament and to a State Minister. Indeed, I saw the Minister only a few days ago. I asked him when the report was to released. He said that it had not been tabled in the Tasmanian House of Assembly because it had been sent to the Commonwealth Minister for Primary Industry for his comments. He said that it had been sent to Canberra weeks ago but that since then nothing had been heard of it. Surely it is reasonable to expect that the report should be perused by the Commonwealth authorities and despatched back to the Tasmanian Minister as soon as practicable to be tabled in the Tasmanian Parliament.

I know, from contacts I have had with settlers on the island, that they have been pinning their hopes to some favorable concession being granted as a result of the preparation of that report. If it was sent to Canberra weeks ago for the information of the Minister for Primary Industry, surely consideration of it should be expedited so that it may be tabled as quickly as possible. Of course, after it is tabled it will become public property. There has been too much delay in the matter. The report should be available as soon as possible to those who are interested in the settlement of ex-servicemen on King Island.







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