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Wednesday, 25 August 1937

Senator E B JOHNSTON (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -

1.   Has the attention of the Government been drawn to a telegram from Canberra published in the West Auslralian of the 6th instant stating that " the Federal Ministry will probably attempt to discourage the development of the Yampi deposits, in Western Australia, for the export of iron ore " ?

2.   What are the reasons for this suggested reversal of the previous attitude of the Government towards the establishment of this new industry in Western Australia?

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.The answers to the honorable senator's questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. Yes. The attitude of the Commonwealth Government in regard to this matter was set out in a statement which the Prime Minister made to the press on 13th August. The statement read: -

The Government is keeping under constant supervision all the relevant factors which relate to the export of iron ore from Australia. It desires to emphasize that, having regard to the efforts which are now being made to eliminate the causes of international friction, nothing could be more unsound or unwise that for Australia unnecessarily to deny to foreign countries access to her raw materials. At the same time, the Government has in hand a survey of our iron resources, in order that it maybe ascertained whether the total Australian supplies are more than adequate for the anticipated future needs of the nation. Should there be an abundance of workable ore, restriction upon reasonable export could not be justified. Onthe other hand, should there be any substantial foundation for a fear of future shortage the Government will not hesitate to take whatever steps are necessary to conserve our national interests.

The State Governments have been asked to await the final results of the survey before granting any further mining leases or other mining rights which would have as their objective the export of iron ore to foreign countries.

Senator E B JOHNSTON asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

1.   Has the attention of the Government been drawn to a speech made by the Honorable G.W. Miles, M.L.C., in the Western Australian Parliament (reported in the West Australian of the 12th inst. ) criticizing the reported attitude of the Federal Government towards the development of the iron deposits at Yampi Sound?

2.   Is it a fact, as suggested, that the Federal Government has refused the remission under by-law of duties on any of the machinery required for Yampi? .

3.   Is the Minister in a position to relieve any anxiety which exists in Western Australia as to the Government's intentions in this matter?

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