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Tuesday, 9 March 1971
Page: 738

Mr SWARTZ (Darling Downs) (Minister for National Development) - The matter has been dealt with very capably by the honourable member for Cowper (Mr Robinson). He stated the position very clearly. There is only one other point that 1 would like to stress and that is that apparently the Opposition, in its desire to be constructive - and the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) has claimed it desires to be constructive - has overlooked the fact that if this amendment were carried as an instruction to Parliament to incorporate it in the existing legislation this Bill would have to be withdrawn and the matter would have to be referred back to the State Government for consideration by the State and by the local authorities concerned because there is no appropriation for this. The total amount that has been allocated has been worked out after negotiation and consultation with the State authorities and with the local authorities concerned. The 1 1 rivers, including 5 additional major rivers, have been included in this measure for the 7- year period. If the amendment were carried the matter would have to go back to the authorities concerned to discuss the inclusion of an additional river and to see whether some further appropriation could be made.

I suggest to the Opposition that, if it desires to see that this matter is handled constructively, it should not pursue this amendment to a vote. If it does it will be indicating that it wishes to delay rather than to assist the passage of the measure.

The honourable member for Riverina was not in the House when I answered, during the second reading debate, the question that he raised as to whether Nambucca could be considered under the national water resources development scheme if it were put to us on a priority basis by the State in the future. The answer is: Yes, the national water resources fund is set up to include works for flood mitigation purposes. The proposals must be submitted on a priority basis by the States concerned. Flood mitigation schemes on major rivers in New South Wales have to be initiated by organisations of the local authorities, in consultation with the State authorities, and eventually the State makes a submission to us under this scheme. I ask the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) to consider this matter very carefully because I am sure that, if he wishes to be constructive, he will withdraw this amendment.

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