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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr GROOM (Darling Downs) . - I thought that I had made the position quite clear. An important report has been received from the Imperial Defence Committee, and before the construction of the fort can be further proceeded with the recommendations contained' in that report will have to be very seriously considered. The Defence Department have not yet communicated their decision to us, and I cannot therefore give the honorable member for Wentworth the information that he desires. He must know that confidential reports are received by the Defence Department.

Mr Kelly - Why does the Minister beg the question?

Mr GROOM - I am not begging the question. The honorable member for Fremantle asked me whether I could tell him how the matter stood, and I explained that the proposed vote of £8,000 included the sum that would have to be paid for the land that had been acquired. The claim in respect of this land will, I hope, be adjudicated upon by the High Court when it visits Western Australia in October next. I told the honorable member, further, that the balance of the sum would be available for the construction of the fort, but that the Defence Department had asked us to stay our hands pending the receipt of their decision upon the recommendations of the Imperial Defence Committee.

Mr Kelly - I asked the Minister how much money was to be devoted for the purchase of the site, and how much was to be appropriated to the work of constructing the fort?

Mr GROOM - I could not give the honorable member that information, because the High Court has not yet fixed the amount to be paid for the land. All I can say is that a sufficient sum has been placed upon the Estimates to meet any expenditure that is likely to take place during the current year.

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