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Wednesday, 16 October 1974
Page: 1791

Senator McLAREN (South Australia) - It is not my wish to take up much of the time of the Senate because we were hoping that these Bills would be passed tonight. I am very pleased that these Bills have now reached this Parliament. At last we will see the commencement of work on the Crystal Brook-Adelaide link and also on the Tarcoola-Alice Springs link. I do not agree entirely with Senator Hall's statement that the Commonwealth Railways are not capable of being a very good constructing authority.

Senator Steele Hall - They are.

Senator McLAREN - The honourable senator said that he thought the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Cavanagh) said in his second reading speech that the Commonwealth Railways would be the construction authority.

Senator Steele Hall - I said the South Australian Railways.

Senator McLAREN -Even if it is the South Australian Railways, I wish to state that I have great confidence in the Commonwealth Railways and the South Australian Railways as the constructing authorities for both these railway lines because they are the experts in the field and the people best equipped to do the job. I feel that as it is a government enterprise we should have government employees on the job. The other thing I am most happy about now that these Bills have come to fruition is that both the Commonwealth Government and the State Government have made the decision to use concrete sleepers. This will have a very marked effect on the people who live in the area and on the manufacture of concrete sleepers. I do not wish to repeat the arguments which we had some years ago about the problems of using concrete sleepers as compared to the use of timber sleepers. But I am happy to know that we will use concrete sleepers. This will be of great benefit to the durability of the railway line and the creation of employment in the area.

Senator Jessopsaid that when he was in Tennant Creek recently the residents had told him that they would be leaving town in the future if floods occurred because they could not get fresh fruit and vegetables. Listening to Senator Jessop one would think that the only time these people in Tennant Creek and the areas north of Alice Springs have experienced any problem is since December 1972. This is not so, as he well knows. I go to Tennant Creek on many occasions, and I am well aware of the disabilities that the people there suffer. I am well aware also that we have had to wait for 62 years before certain sections of the Northern Territory Acceptance Act of 1910 have come to fruition. I hope that the Government, whatever its political colour, on the completion of the link from Tarcoola to Alice Springs will decide to construct a railway Une from Alice Springs to Darwin. This is most essential for the people who live in the Territory and for the manufacturing industries in South Australia. I am very pleased that this legislation now is coming to fruition. I hope that we can get on with the job and no more delays will occur.

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