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Wednesday, 9 September 1942

Mr PERKINS (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Can the Minister for Commerce say whether it is true, a-1 has been stated in the press, that owing to the negligence or tardiness of his department an order for 25,000 tons of dehydrated mutton has been cut down to barely more than 1,000 tons? Will the Minister say how many works are now producing dehydrated mutton, and how many are likely to be producing it in the future?

Mr SCULLY - My department has done everything it possibly could I expedite establishment of the process of dehydration. As it is now only in its initial stages, there has been a great amount of difficulty in securing the equipment and also the technical advice that is essential. Furthermore, there ha3 been great difficulty in securing material at this particular time, as the honorable member is well aware. I consider that to date the department has made excellent progress, inasmuch as already three plants hare been designed and a site selected, and provision is being made for the establishment of many more plants in different centres throughout the Commonwealth. The department is, therefore, alive to its responsibilities in this direction. Any development of this character is hampered by the shortage of man-power and the difficulty of procuring the necessary material for the erection of plants.

Mr Abbott - How many are operating to-day?

Mr SCULLY - One.

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