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Tuesday, 3 December 1935


Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES (South Australia) . - The most recent issue of the journal published by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, which I received yesterday, contains an interesting article by Sir David Rivett, dealing with the need for a national geological survey. The writer, after referring to the value to Australia of a discovery of gold, points out that coal, oil, water, and a variety of earths and minerals necessary for many manufactures are worthy of far greater attention than is given to them. He advocates the preparation of a geological map of the whole continent, and refers to what has been done in Canada, in which dominion a team of 35 men is engaged on a similar work. He points out also that the United States of America embarked on a similar undertaking in 1879 with a staff of 24.

Sitting suspended from 6.15 to 8 p.m.


Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - There is no necessity for me to emphasize the great attainments, and the public spirit actuating, the author of this article, who is the chief executive officer of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. When he expresses the opinion that a geological survey should be made of Australia and that the work should be commenced at once and asks in effect why is it not being done, I am prepared to listen to him, particularly as he points out, that Canada has made tremendous progess in this matter during the last ten years. The United States of America began this work 56 years ago with a staff of 24. Canada has a staff of 35. It is estimated that an adequate staff for this work in Australia would be 21 persons. Sir David does not give an actual estimate of the cost, but he said that the informationcould quite easily be obtained. He emphasizes that this is a reproductive work. At present, when we so often support works which are not reproductive, it should be a pleasure to institute an undertaking of this nature which is likely to pay for itself. Sir

David suggests at the end of his article, which I commend to all honorable senators - it is written in the simplest words and the author gives a very true and full survey of the problem - that we might incur an expenditure in proportion to our population. The United States of America expends £1,000,000 a year on this work. Having regard to the ratio of Australia's population to that of the United States of America, the amount required to finance the work in the Commonwealth would be about £70,000. In view of the importance of gold, quite apart from that of oil, and again quite apart from the consideration of water, which has always been of the greatest concern to Australia, we may fairly conclude that probably this problem has already occupied the attention of the Minister who I know has shown very great interest in the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and its work. I therefore ask the Minister if he has considered the matter raised by Sir David Rivett in detail and if anything has been planned, if not for this year, at any rate for the near future.







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