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Tuesday, 30 April 1957

Mr CASEY - The South Pacific Commission meets to-day, and the meeting will be formally opened in a short time. I can assure the right honorable gentleman that there is no proposal at all to reduce the activities of the South Pacific Commission. I cannot say that its activities will be increased. At any rate, this is merely a review session after eight active years of existence of the commission. It is intended that, in this session, the six countries concerned will review the past and ascertain the best lines of action to take in the future. Australia, as the right honorable gentleman implied, is vitally concerned in this matter. We pay 30 per cent, of the total cost of the South Pacific Commission, which is roughly £200,000 a year. If any one country can be said to be the principal one interested in this commission, that country is Australia, as the right honorable gentleman knows very well. There is no proposal to reduce or, at this stage, to increase the activities of the commission. This is merely a review session to see how best the South Pacific Commission can conduct its own affairs in the years immediately ahead.

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