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Tuesday, 30 November 1965

Mr FAIRBAIRN - I am aware that the honorable member for Mallee and the honorable member for Riverina have repeatedly made requests to me and to the River Murray Commission regarding the building of extra weirs and locks on the lower Murray. Some time ago the River Murray Commission decided that the highest priority in the development of the Murray should be given to providing storages. As the honorable member knows, we have had to place restrictions on the water flowing down the Murray because there is insufficient water in the Hume Weir. Therefore, the highest priority is given to additional storages and not to weirs which, while raising the level of the river hardly increase storage at all and require considerable expenditure. The River Murray Commission is now engaged in building the Chowilla Dam and within about four years the amount of water available in the River Murray will have risen from 2.5 million acre feet to 8 million acre feet. I think the honorable gentleman will agree with me that it is better to spend the available money in this way rather than on the construction of weirs. My own view as Chairman of the River Murray Commission is that, even when the Chowilla Dam is completed, we will do better to look at additional storages rather than at weirs, which can raise the height of the river only over a small area.

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