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Friday, 21 May 1915

Mr ARCHIBALD (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Home Affairs) - Owing to shortage of water, the difficulties arising from having to use bad water in the engines during the severe drought, the failure of contractors in Australia to supply locomotives and engine boilers to contract time, and the absolute necessity for overhauling existing locomotives, it has been necessary to temporarily reduce the rate of plate-laying, which has entailed dispensing with the services of about 150 men. The water difficulty has been mitigated by rains within the last few days, and when sufficient locomotive power is available it is proposed to increase the number of men employed. I can assure the honorable member that I shall do my utmost to keep up the number employed, but with severe drought, war, and other circumstances against us, the difficulties have been great.

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