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Thursday, 20 November 1941

Mr FORDE (Capricornia) (Minister for the Army) . - by leave - With reference to questions asked and representations made by the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark), in connexion with the sewerage scheme at the Hay Internment Camp, I desire to state that a proposal was received from the Hay Municipal Council to the effect that, if the Army was prepared to contribute £ 6,000 towards the cost of new sewerage treatment works for the town, the council would be prepared to take the whole of the sewage from the existing camps. Additional works would, however, be necessary in order to provide pipe lines, pump wells, sanitary fittings, &c, which would involve an extra £14,680, making the total estimated cost to the Army of the scheme put forward by the Hay Municipal Council £20,680. Complete sewerage of the camps, and construction of a separate treatment works to deal with military sewage only, would cost £22,180, but on the closing of camp activities, the military treatment works would meet the demand of the municipality and should have a minimum value of £5,000, if transferred to the council. I am also informed that, in view of the occupation of these camps by Italian prisoners of war, who might spread amoebic dysentery, the need for the sewerage scheme was so urgent that the Army scheme was adopted bymy predecessor. It was possible to complete the latter scheme much more expeditiously than the council's proposed scheme because of the council's inability to proceed with it immediately under the provisions of the Local Government Act. It has been stated that water supplies for both town and camp will be polluted if the Army sewerage scheme is given effect, but the site selected for the camp is half a mile further away from the river than that suggested by the council for its own works. The Army site has been approved by the State Health Department and the Public Works Department, and the scheme would be constructed by the New

South Wales Public Works Department. However, in view of the statements made in regard to this scheme, I have directed that a committee be appointed, consisting of an Army departmental representative, an engineer of the Department of the Interior, Mr. A. A. Joyce, consulting engineer, 56 Hunter-street, Sydney, and a representative of the Municipality of Hay, to investigate complaints regarding the internment camp sewerage scheme. This committee will meet at the earliest possible date and will submit its report to me, when I shall make a further statement in regard to this matter.

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