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Wednesday, 5 May 1915

Mr JENSEN (Bass) (Assistant Minister) . - I have been in communication with the Minister of Defence regarding this proposal, which has also been under the consideration of Cabinet. The Government considered this project so important as to justify inquiry by the Works Committee as to whether an extension of the Small Arms Factory at Lithgow should be made, or whether another factory should be established in some other portion of Australia. I suppose that during the inquiry the Committee will have lati tudc to do much more than is involved by the bare terms of the motion. Their inquiry will not be confined to the buildings and plant, but may touch every phase of the question. The Government thought it desirable to obtain a report from the Public Works Committee before extending the existing establishment. It may be that the Public Works Committee will not recommend the extension of ' the present factory, but that it should be established in Federal Territory, or somewhere else in Australia. At any rate, honorable members will have the benefit of any information on the subject that the Committee can obtain; and the Government think that, at the present juncture, the motion represents the proper step to be taken.

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