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Tuesday, 9 March 1971
Page: 736

Mr IRWIN (Mitchell) - One of the weirdest statements I have ever heard in my life is the statement by the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) that we should take over the financing of flood mitigation, feasibility tests and all the associated work from the States. This would be to the detriment of the States. Who would be better equipped to do this than the States? It would appear from what the honourable member for Dawson was stating that the States were not supplying any money, lt would appear from what he suggests that the Commonwealth Government would have to supply all the money or request the local government authority to do so.

I well remember when an earlier agreement was brought to this House and I asked the then Treasurer why the Hawkesbury River was not included in the scheme of things. I was told that it was simply because the New South Wales Government had not included it. On making inquiries from the New South Wales Government I learned from the then Premier, Mr Jack Renshaw, that better things were intended by the State Government for the Hawkesbury River. But, of course, this never eventuated. Because of representations that I made the Hawkesbury River is now included in the terms of this Bill. It does seem odd that the honourable member for Dawson should advocate that this Parliament should take over from the States, should take no notice of what they say, and should spend money on rivers not recommended by the State governments. I cannot understand his reasoning in this respect. It seems to me to be utterly foolish, and I must oppose the amendment.

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