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Wednesday, 3 June 1970

Mr SWARTZ (Darling Downs) (Minister for National Development) - The honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Hansen) referred to the present proposal before the House as one of the 2 proposals that have been approved, 1 undertaken by the State and 1 undertaken by the Commonwealth. As the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) stated when this was first announced, and as I covered in my second reading speech, this was the full proposal put up by the Queensland Government, amending the third proposal which had been submitted. The honourable member knows quite well the whole background to the situation. We have met in full the State Government's requirement at the present time in relation to the planned scheme and it is looking after the tidal barrage project which is, of course, going ahead. In addition to this, there is an arrangement whereby a further study will be made of other areas. This will be done by the State and I understand it will ask the Commonwealth for some assistance in this field. The studies which we accepted and the evaluations which we made have been related to this planned proposal because we had all the information from the Queensland Government beforehand.

The question was raised by the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) as to whether there should be more information provided in this memorandum. As I mentioned before, this has been a standard procedure. It follows lines somewhat similar to those adopted on previous occasions. I will have a look at the situation in relation to memorandums for the future to see whether they can be extended or further information provided to the House. If the honourable member at any time wishes to look at the documents - I have one here, the last statement from the Queensland Government in relation to these projects - he is entitled to do so at any time. There is some information which is a little confidential and that is why it cannot be published. But if the honourable member for Dawson or the honourable member for Wakefield (Mr Kelly) wish to look at them I would be happy to provide them. What we have done is to follow the normal practice and to put out a memorandum which conveys what we believe to be as much information as would be required. If more is required we will certainly look at that for future submissions.

The honourable member for Dawson referred to clause 6 and I interjected by saying that this clause has a relationship to the barrage works which will be proceeding downstream and that the 2 works programmes will be complementary. The relationship there is between the 2 programmes. But the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) carried us a little further to clause 7 and seemed concerned about the form of wording used in the Bill. I reassure him that this is the standard drafting used for all these measures and is understood by the States and accepted by them. So there is no variation in this Bill from the drafting of the previous Bills. It is the legal drafting terminology that is used. It is understood by the States and they have no objection to it. The honourable member did refer to a comparison between this scheme and one or two others. However there is a difference because this is a straightout grant made under the programme whereas funds provided for some of the other schemes he had in mind were loans. There is quite a variation and therefore the conditions that apply are different.

The final request is for information regarding the charges. I indicated earlier in the debate the basis upon which the Queensland Government is assessing the charges for this particular project but this is a matter for the Queensland Government in this case, and for all State Governments. They have the responsibility. They normally inform us of the basis so we know about it but we do not have the responsibility in relation to it. We do certainly take that into consideration when the scheme is being examined.

Bill agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

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