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Wednesday, 27 October 1971
Page: 2610

Mr TURNBULL (Mallee) - I am always anxious to be associated with any Bill providing for water conservation and, although I am a Victorian, I am interested in this water conservation scheme in Western Australia because, after all, we are all Australians. I believe that soundly based -

I underline 'soundly based' - water conservation is one of the main priorities at which we should aim. I have said so often that it could be regarded as tedious repetition that my No. 1 priority is defence. It is no good having all the good things we have - a democratic government, a democratic Parliament, good houses, motor cars and all the other things that make for good living - unless they can be protected, so the first priority must be defence. My second priority is primary industry, coupled, in most cases, with water conservation. These are the priorities at which I aim.

I do not want to make a long speech tonight but, as a Victorian, I want to support this scheme in Western Australia. I draw attention to the fact that it provides for pipelining of water. For many years I have been advocating the pipelining of water to rural areas for the simple reason that in my electorate of Mallee, in the north west of Victoria, there are areas in which more than 90 per cent of the water is lost from the water storage to the consumer through evaporation and seepage. This means that in that part of the world pipelining would be equal to duplicating all the water storages. But there is more in it than that. The point is that storages cannot always be filled. A dozen storages might be built but it might not be possible to fill them so we must make the best use that we can of the water that we conserve. Although I have not visited and inspected this Western Australian scheme, I believe that it is vital to Western Australia. From figures recently released I understand that Western Australia's population is growing as fast as or faster than any of the other States on a percentage basis and provision must be made for the future. This Bill is in the bests interests of Western Australia and also in the best interests of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

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