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Wednesday, 17 December 1941

Mr MARWICK (Swan) .- I support the remarks of the honorable members for Hume (Mr. Collins) and Richmond (Mr. Anthony) regarding the lifting of the ban on late shopping in small country towns. Most of the country towns in Western Australia are very small. Many of those which are situated a couple of hundred miles inland do not contain more than six or seven shops. I would not suggest for one moment that they be given special consideration if I thought it would endanger the lives of people living in inland areas. Most of the country towns in Western Australia are separated from each other by great distances, and within the last twelve or eighteen months it has become customary for three or four outback families to share a truck to transport them to town in order to get their week's supplies. Many of the trucks are fitted with producergas units. I appeal to the Prime Minister, who has an intimate knowledge of the conditions that exist in Western Australia, to permit the shops in these small inland country towns to remain open one night a week.

I appeal to the Minister for Supply and Development (Mr. Beasley) to exercise more rigid control over the utilization of petrol. Petrol is being wasted in Sydney to an astounding degree. During my recent stay there I visited Bondi, Coogee and Manly by tram, bus or ferry on a Sunday, and saw thousands of cars coming and going to those beaches, or parked at the beaches all day long. If a business man is discovered to be using his business ration for pleasure purposes, his licence should be suspended and his car taken away from him. It is ridiculous that people should be given a ration of 25 or 30 gallons a month and permitted to use it for pleasure without hindrance.

Mr Curtin - That has been " spragged " to-day.

Mr MARWICK - I am glad to have that assurance. In Western Australia one licensed motor vehicle in every eighteen is fitted with a producer-gas unit. In Victoria the proportion is one in forty ; hut in one State it is as low as one in 150. That is a disgraceful state of affairs after two years of war.

Mr Curtin - There were 200 licences for business purposes withdrawn to-day because it was discovered by the department that they were issued in respect of vehicles which were not other than pleasure cars. The withdrawal of licences will be continued wherever we find justification for it.

Mr MARWICK - Even though the position in regard to petrol stocks may be good to-day, we do not know what it will be next month.

Mr Curtin - That applies also to the goods being sold in shops.

Mr MARWICK - I appeal to the Prime Minister to give consideration to the needs of those who live in the outback of Western Australia., where, as the honorable gentleman knows, the danger of an air raid is remote.

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