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Tuesday, 8 March 1966

Mr FAIRBAIRN (FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for National Development) - The Queensland Government has approached the Commonwealth Government with a view to investigating a number of projects, both on the eastern coast of Queensland and in the Gulf area. In both areas a considerable amount of work remains to be done because the most difficult problem is not the problem of deciding where a particular dam is to be built, but the way in which the water from the dam can be best used. There is one project at the present moment - the Nogoa scheme at Emerald - which the Queensland Government has asked the Commonwealth Government to investigate. The Bureau of Agricultural Economics investigated this project and has put in a report which is now being considered by the Queensland Government. The Bureau's report throws considerable doubt on the economics of this project, but we are awaiting the replies of the Queensland Government to see whether this assessment is correct or not. There are a number of areas which the Queensland Government, officers from' the Snowy Mountains Authority and officers from the Northern Division of the Department of National Development are investigating with a view to seeing what can economically be done in the north of Queensland. When these investigations are completed it will be, as a matter of policy, for the Government to decide what it will do.

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