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Tuesday, 22 March 1927

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW (Queensland) (Minister for Home and Territories) [4.11] . - I agree with the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Needham) that the meteorological station at Willis Island is of great value to Australia. As honorable senators are aware, a disastrous cyclone recently caused considerable havoc along the coast of Queensland.. The indications along the coast were that conditions were normal; but, in consequence of information received from the meteorological station at Willis Island, it was possible to give 48 hours' warning to shipping and to persons living along the coast of the approach of the disturbance. The honorable senator asked that some comforts should be provided for the officers who man that station. On the representation of some honorable - senators, this matter was considered by the Government during the period of Government control of the station, but at that time the transfer of the control to Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited was imminent, and the PostmasterGeneral was not prepared to authorize the expenditure. The question is now one which should be dealt with by AmalgamatedWireless (Australasia) Limited.

Senator Needham - Seeing that the Commonwealth holds a majority of the shares in the company, has not this Parliament some say in the matter?

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW - It is true that this Commonwealth is represented on the directorate, but the care of its employees is a matter for the company.

Senator Needham - We have a share in that responsibility.

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW -Senator Grantalso ref erred to the advisory council for New Guinea. In answer to a recent question by the honorable senator, I informed him that the amendment of the act to give additional representation to the people of that territory would be considered when all the expropriated properies had been disposed of. That will be done.

The honorable senator urged the desirability of making available an additional number of building sites at Canberra. So far, there has been no demand for more building sites thanhave been disposed of. I remind the honorable senator that, in addition to the sites made available by sale or tender, the Federal Capital Commission hasconstructed a number of homes for public servants. Next month therewill be another sale of leases for residences and business premises. Senator Grant suggested that the Government should reconsider the period of re-appraisement, and advocated a re -appraisement of leases every year. Ican conceive of nothing that would do more to hamper development by discouraging people from building in Canberra than a proposal of that nature, because the lessees would not know from one year to the next what would be the valuation of their leases.

Senator Grant - Every municipality throughout theCommonwealth follows the practice I have advocated.

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW - The policy is tohave a re-appraisement of the leases at the end of the first twenty years, and subsequently every ten years. The question raised by Senator Carroll in connexion with the air service between Derby and Wyndham will be dealt with, together with other proposals, when the general policy of the Govern ment in regard to air services is being considered.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a first time.

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