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Thursday, 18 August 1904


Sir JOHN FORREST (Swan) - I wish to call the attention of the Treasurer to a public work of a very urgent character, for which the Parliament provided ^12,000 last year, namely, ,£7,000 for construction and £5,000 for armament, although nothing has been done up to the present time* I refer to the defence works at Fremantle.


Mr Carpenter - What became of the money which was voted?


Sir JOHN FORREST - I shall deal with that matter presently. Some time ago an arrangement was made with the Government of Western Australia under which that State agreed to provide the necessary land for the purpose of the fort at Arthur's Head, and to regard it as transferred property. The public buildings standing upon the land were demolished, and everything was in readiness to give effect to the wishes of Parliament by proceeding with the erection of the fort. Difficulties, however, arose. The present Treasurer was of the opinion that the work, when finally completed, would involve an expenditure considerably in excess of that which was understood by Parliament when the £t 2,000 was voted, and therefore he urged me to refrain from expending £7,000 of the amount. He thought that we had not taken Parliament sufficiently into our confidence, and eventually the course which he suggested was adopted by the Government. He, however, undertook to lay the whole matter before Parliament, and to provide a sufficient sum for the current year's expenditure. He also promised to recommend that the necessary financial provision should be made for carrying out to completion the work in its entirety. Last year Parliament voted £5,000 to provide one gun for that fort. I regret to say that this amount was practically used by my honorable friend the then Minister for Defence, without my knowledge, but that fact will in no way militate against the progress and completion of the work. I rise chiefly to remind the Treasurer of the understanding which was arrived at by the Government of which we were both members, and to express the hope that on the EstimatesinChief he will give effect to that understanding, which I at the time communicated to the people of Western Australia.







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