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Thursday, 9 October 1902

Mr DEAKIN - Prior to the date mentioned by the honorable member, and afterwards the Government placed themselves in communication with the Governments of South Australia and Western Australia, in order to secure at the earliest moment detailed information as to the character of the route which had been approximately selected. Since- that time, I understand that special survey parties - in Western Australia, in particular - have been investigating the route suggested. The main difficulty in parts arose from the apparent absence of water supplies, but boring has been already conducted along some of the most difficult and necessitous portions of the route with considerable success. The Western Australian Government is to furnish us, as soon as they receive them, with -copies of the reports from the various parties who have been engaged in survey and boring operations. We have already received from the South Australian Government reports as to portions of the line within their territory. These reports are being collected, and will be collated in the Department for Home Affairs, and as soon as we obtain such physical information as will enable the professional board to form a definite opinion as to the route to be chosen, the cost of the work, and the revenue to be derived, an appointment will- be made. We have been waiting, as from the first, for the detailed local reports, and particularly for those with regard to water supply, because these will affect, not only the cost of construction, but the cost of working the line. There is no intention on the part of the Government to incur any unnecessary delay.

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