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Thursday, 20 June 1946

Mr Bernard Corser r asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -

1.   What number of ships was being built in Australia at the 1st June, under government programme?

2.   Where are such ships being built and what is the tonnage of each?

3.   What further ships have been ordered to bc built since 1st June, under Government programme, and to what shipyards have such been allocated, and what is the tonnage of each ?

4.   What other ships have been approved under govern ment programme, what is the tonnage and to what yards have these ships been allocated?

Mr Makin - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. The number of ships under construction at 1st June: Broken Hill Proprietary, Whyalla, two D class 2,980 tons deadweight capacity vessels generally known as 2,500 tons deadweight and four B class 6,000 tons deadweight capacity vessels. Evans Deakin, Queensland, two D class and two A class 9,000 tons deadweight capacity. Walkers Limited, Maryborough.' Queensland, five E class 550 tons deadweight capacity. Cockatoo docks, New South Wales, one A class. State Dockyard. Newcastle, two D class. A class vessels are actually in vicinity of 9,300 tons deadweight capacity.

3.   No ships have been ordered since 1st June, 1946.

4.   Cabinet has approved of post-war construction programme of 25 vessels of between 2,000 and 5.000 tons deadweight capacity to be constructed overa period of five years. Preliminarypl ans have been completed and specifications have been completed and specification nearing completion.

Road-making Equipment.

Mr Bernard Corser r asked the Minis ter for Works and Housing, upon notice -

1.   In view of the adjustment of the lendlease agreement with the United States of America, will he now make available to local government authorities and contractors', necessary road-making plant which has been parked at Rocklea and other places in Australia pending authority for disposal, especially as government works and organizations have already drawn their supplies from earlier available stocks?

2.   Ts it a fact that owing to delays by the Australian Government in deciding to purchase largequartities of earth-moving and other heavy engineering equipment originally offered by the American Authorities to Australia and which was urgently required by local governing authorities and others in this country, this equipment was purchased by the New Zealand Government? 3.If the opportunity to purchase such heavy engineering equipment is not admitted to have been lost by delaying a decision by theAustralian Government, why was such earth-moving plant lost to Australia?

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

1.   Surp'us road-making plant at Rocklea was actually under offer to government authorities before the lend-lease settlement, and is now in process of being cleared. In any case, instructions have been issued to ensure that equipment arising as a result of the settlement of lend-lease is marketed without delay. 2 and 3. All offerings by the Americans have been scrutinized by competent Commonwealth authority in relation to known Australian demand, and considerable quantities have been purchased. There is no knowledge of New Zealand Government purchases, but possibly these may relate to United States property offered outside of the mainland or Australian operational areas. Apart from purchases of United States equipment on the mainland, Australia has secured stocks offered ex United States Pacific Island bases, and is now negotiating further purchases from such areas.

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