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Wednesday, 21 April 1915

Mr ARCHIBALD - The answers to the honorable member's questions are -

1.   The contract with the Western Australian Government is for 500,000 sleepers, cither powellised karri or jarrah at the option of the suppliers. 410,029 powellised karri and 29,330 jarrah have been supplied under the contract.

2.   The average deliveries agreed upon have been maintained, 398,365 sleepers have been delivered under this contract at Kalgoorlie. 50,000 powellised karri are awaiting shipment to Darwin, Northern Territory, having been diverted for the construction of the PineCreekKatherine River railway. The contract docs not provide for delivery at Port Augusta, so none have been delivered there.

3.   Approximately 100,000.

4.   Kalgoorlie. - Rails in stock, 113 miles; laid in road, 223 miles. Sleepers in stock, 168 miles; laid in road, 223 miles.

Port Augusta. - Rails in stock, 83 miles; laid in road, 240 miles. Sleepers in stock, 101 miles; laid in road, 240 miles.

5.   Approximately, 25,000 tons rails. 400,000 sleepers.

No delay has occurred up to the present by reason of any shortage in delivery, nor have I any reason to believe there will be any delay in the construction of the line.

Sir JOHN FORREST asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

With reference to the statement by the Prime Minister on 14th April that "it is estimated the East- West railway will be completed in less than 2½ years' time -

1.   Will he obtain and place on the table of the House a report by the EngineerinChief for Railways on the present position and the estimated future progress of this railway - especially including the cause of the alleged great delay in carrying out this work - the date when it is anticipated the rails will be all laid and the mileage already ballasted of the 450 miles of rails already laid, water supplies, &c. ?

2.   Whether there are not 400 miles of the length still to be laid that traverses an elevated limestone plain, almost level, on which two miles a day can easily be laid ?

3.   Whether the rolling-stock, viz., locomo tives, carriages, and wagons, &c, is. under order and under construction; and, if so, the quality and estimated cost of such rolling-stock?

4.   The total expenditure on the railway to date ?

5.   The time this 1,060 miles has been under construction ?

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