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Wednesday, 7 December 1960

Mr THOMPSON (Port Adelaide) . I am not going to speak for long on this matter, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but I do not want the opportunity to pass without saying something about this question, because pyrites has been the means of the establishment of a big sulphuric acid plant in my district, costing, I believe, about £2,000,000. The pyrites come from the Nairn district, which I think is in the electorate of the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes). Many years ago I was employed at a superphosphate works at Port Adelaide. The manufacture of the sulphuric acid for the production of superphosphate depended upon brimstone or sulphur imported from overseas.

I think I can claim a little knowledge of the manufacture of superphosphate and of the necessity for adequate supplies of sulphuric acid. It has been explained in this House that because of the fear that brimstone might not be able to be imported from overseas, the subsidy on the production of sulphuric acid was brought into being, as was the bounty in the pyrites industry. This is a big matter for my own district, because adjacent to it we have the Ford works where men are being put off owing to the recent action of the Government. In that vicinity, also, is the big Holden works. It will be realized that this measure will mean much to the workers in my district if it ensures keeping that big sulphuric acid plant going.

I know the great value of superphosphate to our lighter soils. In my young days I went on to very light scrub country where superphosphate was a most important item for the farmer. Anything we can do by way of bounty - whether a straight-out bounty on superphosphate as the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) suggested earlier in the debate on these three measures, or in connexion with the procuring of sulphuric acid at a cost which will enable the price of superphosphate to be kept down - will be a big thing for the farmer, particularly the man on the lighter land who has to use a lot of superphosphate for a return comparatively small in comparison with that gained on richer types of soil in the various States. I am pleased to support the measure and the two previous measures, because they all tend to assist, in my own district, the industry of manufacturing sul phuric acid from pyrites which is mined at Nairn, where a large number of men is employed. I have no wish to talk about other matters. This is a practical measure to assist the farming community generally and to utilize the big resources of pyrites which are available. Thus it will provide employment in industries which mean much to South Australia.

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