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Tuesday, 29 November 1938


The CHAIRMAN - The honorable member will not be in order in discussing regional tariffs under this item.


Mr BLAIN - I now wish to refer to item 15, " Northern Territory publicity - exhibitions and pictorial map, £1,000 ", under miscellaneous services, Department of the Interior. I am the last to say that Australians cannot know too much about the territory, but I again ask the Minister, as I did some years ago, not to put the territory in the public eye to the extent of attracting tourists before something is done to dress the territory's window. Goodness only knows that with its Timor ponies, near the Coburg Peninsula, its buffalo and alligator country, wild game and fish, and with such streams as the Daly, Victoria and Roper rivers, and Western Arnheim Land, the territory is unique, and can offer greater attractions to the tourist than can any other part of Australia. Apparently, however, the department intends to advertise the territory before it even builds roads to enable visitors to traverse the country. I again ask that good branch roads be built off the north-south line. Until such facilities are provided we shall have tourists returning from the territory with that "never again" look on their faces. Before seeking to attract visitors by undertaking extensive advertising campaigns in Melbourne and other capital cities, we should first make an endeavour to dress the territory's window, so that visitors to the territory will return to the south as ambassadors for that part of the Commonwealth instead of feeling that they made a mistake in going there. If the Minister is in need of any suggestions as to where tourist roads should be built, I shall be only too pleased to help him in that regard.

I congratulate the Government on providing a subsidy of £5,000 for aerial medical services at Alice Springs. It has acted very wisely in making this sum available to this remarkable band of voluntary workers who have done so much to make life more tolerable for settlers in the interior. It is also to be congratulated on establishing a hospital at Alice Springs, which will mean that the whole of the interior will benefit from the work of the aerial medical service which has its head-quarters at that centre.

I notice that not £1 is allocated in respect of scientific research in secondary industry. I do not know what Sir David Rivett will have to say about that. As one who supported the Science and Industry Research Appropriation Rill last June, under which £250,000 was made available for this purpose, I am amazed now to find that not £1 is allocated for the establishment of a research bureau for secondary industry, the necessity for which cannot be over-emphasized. Most of the money now allocated in respect of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is expended on scientific research for primary industry. Surely we have spent sufficient time 'in investigating the codlin moth, red spider, and black spider, and can now afford to devote some money to research on behalf of secondary industry.


The CHAIRMAN - I remind the honorable gentleman that expenditure in respect of secondary industry research has already been dealt with under the Prime Minister's Department.


Mr BLAIN - When that section of the Estimates was under consideration I endeavoured to get the call in order to speak on this subject, but when I failed to do so I thought that I could deal with it at this juncture. I repeat that I am amazed to find that most of the £250,000 voted last June has been disbursed by way of capital expenditure. To-day, if anyone in secondary industry wishes to have a problem investigated he is more or less obliged to give his secret to such great organizations as the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, Imperial Chemical Industries Limited, and General Motors-Hold en's Limited, which are, perhaps, the only three organizations in Australia sufficiently financial to be able to establish research bureaux. We should make greater use of the services available through the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research by setting up a research bureau for the investigation of problems confronting secondary industries.







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