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Thursday, 20 June 1946

Mr BERNARD CORSER (WIDE BAY, QUEENSLAND) s asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

1.   Has his attention been drawn to a report in the press of 18th May, 1946, that hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of foodstuffs were deteriorating in Army stores and that in a storehouse at Bulimba there was sufficient food to supply the entire population of a large-sized English town for at least a week?

2.   It it a fact, as stated, that this food includes 1,500,000 lb. of flour, 9,500 cases of tea, 500,000 lb. of sugar, between 50,000 and 60,000 cases of condensed milk, 1,000,000 lb. of bacon, 8,000 lb. of candy, 480 barrels of vinegar, also large quantities of rice, tinned vegetables, jam, dried fruits, coffee, golden syrup, apple juice and brown sugar?

3.   Is it a fact, as stated, that flour and dried fruits have become weevil infested and that the bacon is going blue mouldy?

4.   If so, who is responsible for allowing this deterioration of food?

5.   If the facts are not as stated, willthe Minister inform the House what quantities of food are stored at Bulimba and what quantities of such food have deteriorated?

6.   What action is it intended to take against the person or persons responsible for any deterioration of food?

7.   Is it further a fact that similar quantities of valuable foodstuffs are in Army storehouses throughout Queensland ?

8.   Whatdoes the Government intend to do with foodstuffs in Army stores in Queensland and elsewhere?

Mr Forde - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   The stores referred to in press article consist of foodstuffs of reciprocal lend lease origin returned by the United States Forces, to the Commonwealth. They are held in various storehouses, some of these are at Bulimba. The Army is the custodian of these unwanted surplus stocks, all of which have been declared to the Commonwealth Disposal Commission for disposal.

2.   Some of the quantities stated agree with, or approximate those taken over from the United States Forces. In other cases quantities are exaggerated. Some of the foodstuffs referred to were sold before the press report referred to was published. Others have since been sold. 3 and 4. A quantity of flour was weevil infested when taken over from United States Forces. This has since been sold. There is no record of dried fruits being weevil infested. No report has been received of any bacon going blue mouldy but it was infested with skipper fly when it was taken over. All bacon was sold before the date of the press report.

5.   Most of the foodstuffs stored at Bulimba have already been sold.

6.   In view of the fact that the foodstuffs were handed over by the United States Forces, it is not possible to take action or determine the person or persons responsible for deterioration of food?

7.   See answer to 1. Although quantities of foodstuffs handed in by American authorities are held in other Army storehouses in Queensland the majority has now been sold.

8.   The Commonwealth Disposals Commission, th rough its agent the Commonwealth Food Control, is responsible for the disposal of all surplus food stocks, and after the foodstuffs are submitted for veterinary examination they arc first offered to the British Ministry of. Food, then to Unrra for relief purposes.

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