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Wednesday, 1 October 1941
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Mr HARRISON (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - The answer to the initial inquiry is "Yes". The reason is, that the Government of the United States of America is rapidly taking control of all vital and essential commodities for export, and our setting up of an organization in Sydney is necessary in order that we may avoid delay in obtaining a fair proportion of those commodities that we need. Expeditious handling of the matter is essential in order to overcome any possibility of unemployment, due to our failure to obtain vital raw materials. The endeavour was made to secure the necessary accommodation in Canberra, but it was found that office, hotel, and housing accommodation was not available,and that there is not here a fieldin which the labour required for the work of this particular department may be recruited.

Mr PERKINS - Can the Minister for Customs state the number of families which it is proposed to transfer from Canberra to Sydney? What is to become of the houses they vacate in Canberra? Are they to be sub-leased to other tenants? How is the work whch those officers previously did in Canberra to be done after their transfer?

Mr HARRISON - This move represents an amalgamation of the Import Licence Section with the newly established Division of Imports Procurement. The officers previously engaged in the Import Licence Section will be transferred to Sydney. Arrangements regarding the disposal of their houses are in the hands of the Department of the Interior.

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