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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr JOHNSON (Lang) .- If it was originally intended that the fort should be constructed on a scale which would permit only of the .mounting of 6-inch guns, its entire reconstruction might be necessary to allow of the mounting of heavier ordnance.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - But the plans were altered before the change in the calibre of the guns was decided upon.

Mr JOHNSON - That is an explanation which ought to have been given by the Minister.

Mr Groom - I referred to it. Plans were prepared to permit of the mounting of 7.5 guns, and the Department of Home Affairs was then asked to stay its hand, pending the determination of the question of what the new armament should be. We are now awaiting the decision of the Department of Defence.

Mr JOHNSON - Then this item is based on the proposal to mount 7.5 guns?

Mr Groom - All that I can say is that part of the item is to provide for the acquisition of a site, which is the subject of litigation. In the circumstances, I cannot disclose the details ; but the officers advise that this amount will be sufficient to cover the expenditure that is likely to be incurred this year.

Mr JOHNSON - I have no desire that the Minister should disclose confidential information, and, in the light of the additional facts which have been presented since I raised objection to the item, I will not press my motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

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