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Thursday, 24 May 1928

Mr NELSON (NORTHERN TERRITORY, NORTHERN TERRITORY) - Yesterday I received the following telegram from Darwin -

When the number of employees on Katherine to Daly Waters railway construction was being increased from two hundred to approximately six hundred the engineer when asked if any more labour would be required always replied " Full handed." This would be in response to requests for information on the matter by the local union and the Australian Workers Union and numerous applications by persons all over Australia. At the same time every boat brought sixty or seventy Mediterranean nationals who were immediately absorbed on railway construction. Bequest of Minister that this be not practised if extension operations renewed. Also from unofficial source I have been advised the department is endeavouring obtain Mediterranean labour in Townsville for railway construction Territory to leave by June boat.

In view of the unparalleled distress occasioned by unemployment in Australia will the Minister for Works and Railways issue an order that preference shall be given to Australians on the railway construction work in the Northern Territory ?

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