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Thursday, 28 March 1957

Mr Webb b asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that, as labour and material are now available, the Western Australian Government is anxious to hasten the work on the Comprehensive Water Scheme and, for that purpose, is spending £570,000 this year?

2.   Is it a fact that, due to severe inflationary conditions, the estimated cost of the scheme is now £10,000,000?

3.   Will he agree to increase the Commonwealth's share from £4,000,000 to £5,000,000 and thus increase the annual limit of £462,500 which is now paid to the State on a £l-for-£l basis?

Sir Arthur Fadden - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   The rate at which work on the scheme progresses is a matter for determination by the Government of Western Australia.

2.   I am not aware of any firm estimate of the total cost of the scheme having recently been made by the State.

3.   This is a matter of policy. It is, however, pointed out that, apart from the matching contributions by the State and the Commonwealth, the State is free to make additional allocations to the scheme from the funds available to it for works purposes. Since the present Commonwealth Government took office unprecedented action has been taken to assist the works programme of the States. Western Australia has shared in this special assistance. In addition, the Commonwealth arranged for that State to receive in 1956-57 an extra allocation of loan moneys of £2,000,000 over and above the amount of £17,900,000 which would otherwise have been available to it for works purposes.

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