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Friday, 31 August 1928

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Mann (PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - I would point out to the honorable member that the subject to which he is referring concerns loan expenditure and not come under these estimates.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am showing that, while money is available for the construction of a road from Goulburn to Canberra, expenditure on other very necessary works is being curtailed. Connected with the construction of the Hume dam is a proposal to construct a deviation road, and this, so the Minister informed me a few months ago, should be constructed at the same time as the weir. I now understand that men are being put off, and that the road is not to be proceeded with. In view of that, how can the Minister justify the construction of a road from Goulburn to Canberra which will serve city interests only? There is a nasty impression in the public mind that the sudden curtailment .of the work on the Hume reservoir, entailing the dismissal of 500 or 600 men, is being made for political purposes and to injure my prospects of re-election. That view is being freely expressed in the Hume district. If that is the motive behind the decision of the conference, there will undoubtedly be a revulsion of feeling against the Government on the part of the Hume electors.

Mr Hill - That statement is unworthy of the honorable member.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is being freely made. The Government's attitude seems very suspicious in view of the conversation that I recently had with the Minister. He then said that the work should be proceeded with. Now it is to be curtailed. If there is money available for the construction of a road from Goulburn to Canberra there is no justification whatever for the Minister's excuse that there is no money available for the construction of the deviation road to the Hume reservoir. I have been told by a member of the Murray Waters Commission that if a little impetus were given to the river works, next year, there would be sufficient water to irrigate several thousand acres of land. In case of drought that would be of immense benefit to the settlers on the Murray valley..

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