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Wednesday, 29 June 1938

Mr BEASLEY (WEST SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Minister's remark shows clearly that this is a blind stab. It is possible that in regard to this road influences may be brought to bear upon the Government to do something which is not in the best interests of the territory. We all know very well that in the early days of railway building in this country powerful interests were able to influence the routes of proposed railways for their own benefit and very much against the best interests of the country generally. The honorable member for Parkes (Sir Charles Marr), who has had considerable experience in the Mandated Territory urged the Government to keep in mind, not only the possibilities of gold production, but also those of agricultural development. The gold areas of New Guinea will undoubtedly be exhausted some day, so we should not confineour attention to the mining aspect of the subject alone. If, by the expenditure of an additional £20,000, rich areas sui table for agricultural purposes could be tapped, it would be common sense to spend the extra money. I admit that I have had no personal experience in regard to the Mandated Territory, but in 1930 I met, on behalf of the Prime Minister, a deputation representative of New Guinea interests which directed attention to this very subject. It will be appreciated, therefore, that we are not dealing with a new problem. The Administration has hadmore than a month or so to consider the whole situation. Though in 1930 our attention was forcibly confined to affairs within Australia, the situation has since altered. It seems to me that surveys could have been made and full details placed before the House in connexion with this whole project. I hope that the Minister in his reply will give us some additional information.

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