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Tuesday, 9 March 1971
Page: 698

Mr TURNBULL (MALLEE, VICTORIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister for National Development. What is the present position regarding the building of Dartmouth Dam? Is it a fact that the Premier of South Australia has said that his Government is prepared to break the deadlock and ratify the agreement? Did the Premier of South Australia and his Government cause the deadlock and so put the building of Dartmouth in what one honourable member would describe as 'cold storage' for at least 10 months, to the detriment of production and national development?

Mr SWARTZ (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for National Development) - As I indicated a week or so ago in this House my understanding is that some legislation has been or is to be introduced into the South Australian Parliament along the lines indicated in a recent letter sent to the Prime Minister by the Premier of South Australia. As 1 pointed out at that time, the Premier of South Australia had publicly stated - as I have not had the opportunity of seeing the proposed Bill or any reference to any debate in relation to this matter I cannot confirm what the Premier publicly stated - that 2 clauses in the agreement which had been ratified by both Houses of this Parliament and the Parliaments of New South Wales and Victoria were to be deleted from the legislation to be introduced into the South Australian Parliament. Without a careful study of the submission by the Premier of South Australia and without a knowledge of the legislation to be considered by that Parliament, it would appear that if the 2 clauses to which he has referred were deleted the situation would be exactly the same as it was before when the other 3 Parliaments had made it quite clear that the proposal was not acceptable to them.

I would like to make it quite clear that all the concern of the South Australian Government has been to ensure that further consideration will be given to the Chowilla project and the whole of the River Murray system in the future. This has been made quite clear although actual reference to Chowilla was removed from the present agreement with the approval of the Government of South Australia at that time. Although that was done there was an exchange of letters and at a conference between the various governments it was made quite clear that there would be a continuing study of the future development of the Murray system and that consideration would be given to Chowilla in that study. That is the position as it stands at the moment and as far as the various governments are concerned. However, this Government cannot give a reply to the Premier of South Australia as the Prime Minister has not had an opportunity to study the matter fully and becausewe are not aware of the full details of the proposed legislation or of the debate that is taking place.

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