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Thursday, 26 November 1936

Senator FOLL (Queensland) .- I direct attention to the vote of £8,150 for the forestry branch. From the small number of students that have been despatched by the various States' to the Australian Forestry School, Canberra, it is apparent that all is not well with the administration of that institution. A few weeks ago the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) referred to the small enrolment at the school, and during the last few weeks I have taken the opportunity to investigate to the best of my ability the reason for this lack of numbers. So far as the data at the school itself, the Library and the specimens there are concerned, the institution is probably the equal of any in this part of the world. It has certainly the best collection in Australia at the present time; but as the result of my inquiries I am satisfied that the reason why the school is not functioning as it should is because there is not that co-operation between the Inspector-General of Forests and the heads of the State Forestry Departments that there should be.

Senator Hardy - I think that there are deeper reasons than that.

Senator FOLL - That reason is largely responsible for the fact that so few students are being sent from at least two of the States to which we look to supply the greatest number. As was pointed out by the Leader of the Opposition, the Queensland Forestry Department proposes to send its students to the school. The tension which exists between the head of the department in Canberra and the Forestry Departments of at least two of the States does not obtain in respect of Queensland. Even if it did, the Forestry Department of that State is sufficiently big enough to recognize the value of the Australian Forestry School. The statements that I am making will call for some investigation by the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Paterson). If more tact had been exercised by the Inspector-General of Forestry, Mr. Lane-Poole, in some of his transactions with the heads of the State Forestry Departments, the decline of the numbers of students from at least two of the States, and the suggestion that those States will start Forestry Schools of their own, would not have occurred. These facts should be investigated, because the Australian Forestry School is worthwhile. It has a fine building, and a comprehensive collection, and is admirably situated for forestry work; therefore, there is no reason why it should not be the success that the Government intended it should be at its inception when the office of Inspector-General of Forests was created. I do not speak lightly in this regard. There has not been that cohesion and cooperation between the principal of the Australian Forestry School and the State Departments that there might have been and to my way of thinking, that is largely responsible for the fact that the school i9 not functioning satisfactorily.

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