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Wednesday, 10 June 1970

Mr TURNBULL (Mallee) - I had not intended to speak in this debate but I do support what the Government is doing. When I listened to the speech made by the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Poster) 1 realised the abundance of his want of knowledge. Therefore I thought it time that someone who was in this House at the time that the Snowy Mountains scheme was first mooted said something on this subject. The remarks of the honourable member for Sturt were related to a general debate.

Mr Foster - Why should I not do that?

Mr TURNBULL - Why should I not do it also? I have written out some of my remarks in order to make sure that they are accurate. The Liberal-Country Party Government spent more money on water conservation in its first 3 years in office than the Labor Party had spent on water conservation since federation. It may have been the first 2 years of office but I say 3 in order to be sure. The honourable member for Sturt spoke about what the Government had done and had not done and what should be done. When I first came into this House there was some talk about the Snowy Mountains scheme but Labor was not doing much about it. It was my personal lot - if any honourable member challenges this I will show him the report of my remarks in Hansard - to jog members of the Labor Party along in this House by saying: 'Why don't you get on with the job?' This appears in Hansard. I am not talking airy-fairy stuff. I asked members of the Labor Party why they did not get moving on this project. They were talking about it but nothing was happening. What did happen then? Members of the Labor Party went to the Snowy. They say that members of the Government Parties boycotted the opening of the scheme but that is not true.

Mr Duthie - It is true.

Mr TURNBULL - Does the honourable member for Wilmot say that General Rankin was not there? He was there. The first sod was turned just before the election of 1949, and, of course, a representative of the Labor Party officiated. But what happened after that? All the money spent on the Snowy scheme was collected by this Government. It was this Government which spent the money on this great project in the Snowy Mountains and the Labor Party can claim practically nothing from its success. The Labor Party may have had some experts along to tell it that the project was a good thing. Labor thought it was a great election stunt. Everybody knew this at the time. The honourable member for Sturt has just come to this place and he does not know anything of the history of this great scheme.

Dr Patterson - He knows more than you will ever know.

Mr TURNBULL - The honourable member for Dawson probably knows less about it. I am telling honourable members exactly what happened. When speaking in this House 1 never refer to personalities. Everybody knows this. However I do speak against people who make outrageous statements which cannot be substantiated by facts. The position is that the Government has gone into all the pros and cons of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority and has introduced this Bill after much thought. Now the Labor Party is trying to find some way of getting off the toboggan. For a few months after the last election it appeared that the Labor Party was ascending. But I have been looking very closely at what has been happening since then and it is apparent that Labor has run its race. The Labor Party is like a horse in a 2-mile race which goes to the front for a while. But now Labor is falling back into the field. By the time the next election is held Labor will be only entering the straight when the Government is passing the winning post. That is what is happening.

I do not like to criticise people and have never done so unless they have made an unjustifiable attack on me.

Mr Foster - What have you been doing for the last 5 minutes?

Mr TURNBULL - I have not done so unless they have attacked me unjustifiably, in which case I am quite entitled to stick up for myself, as I am able to do and as I have done on so many occasion in this House. Irrigation has been referred to in this debate. The honourable member for Hawker (Mr Jacobi) spoke last night about building all sorts of things. He said that we would have so many people in Australia in 20 or 30 years time that we would have to build an additional 8 Eucumbene dams. He mentioned some huge figures. I interjected very quietly and said that by that time we would have pipelining. I remind honourable members that in some parts of Australia, including the Mallee electorate which I represent, about 90% of the water is lost. It is said that 97% of the water is lost but I always leave a margin in order to be correct. It is said that 90% ot water is lost on the way from the storage to the consumer in certain areas, and 50% is lost generally. Pipelining would cost a fair amount of money but not as much as 8 big reservoirs.

In terms of water conservation, pipelining would be equal to duplicating all the water storages in Australia. I am not saying that pipelining is required all over Australia but it is wanted in areas where seepage and evaporation is responsible for the waste of water that is very costly to conserve. Pipelining is a project of the future but I have been advocating it for years. I have been saying that we should make more use of the water rather than build a lot more storages.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock)Order! I suggest to the honourable member for Mallee that he should not advocate pipelining while speaking during this stage of the debate on this Bill

Mr TURNBULL - I will finish on this point. I support this Bill. I did not intend to make a speech and would not have spoken except that I heard the errors that the honourable member for Sturt had fallen into. With pipelining we will have sufficient water in the future. After all, in the very best of years we can store only a certain amount of water in reservoirs and we must make the best use of the water that we can conserve.

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