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Tuesday, 16 March 1965

Senator PALTRIDGE - Senator Scottmade me aware of his intention to ask this question, thereby giving me an opportunity to confer with the Minister for Shipping and Transport who has provided me with the following information -

An approach was made to Commonwealth Railways about the end of February to provide a substantial quantity of water each week for graziers between Kalgoorlie and Cook on the TransAustralian line. Those graziers are in the process of developing their holdings and have not had sufficient rain to give a run-off into their new dams in over nineteen months. For the same reason, however, the Commonwealth Railways itself has had to ration water along the Trans-Australian line and has been fully extended with its available rollingstock to keep sufficient water supplied for its own staff and for other human requirements. The quantity asked for by the graziers to maintain their sheep numbers was greater than the total capacity of Commonwealth Railways to carry for ali purposes. However, at my suggestion a conference was called with the Chief Traffic Manager and representatives of the graziers at Kalgoorlie to ascertain the minimum quantities of water which would be of assistance to the graziers, and to make whatever arrangements could be made in the circumstances to give some assistance. The conference was held last week, and satisfactory arrangements were made to provide some water, amounting to 33,000 gallons in the first week and 24,000 gallons weekly thereafter, with a possibility of 48,000 gallons a week if the turn-round of the water tanks was quick enough. These quantities were to be made available at concession rates, which would barely cover the costs of the Railways, for a limited period in the hope that rain would fall in the near future.

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