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Wednesday, 5 September 1945
Page: 0

Mr Bernard Corser r, asked the Ministor in charge of War Service Homes, upon notice -

1.   Has he refused permits for the building of war service homes at Gympie and other old mining cities and towns in Queensland because the laud is held under mining homestead leases and miners' homestead perpetual leases?

2.   Is it a fact that he has stated that all improvements would revert to the State Government and that the Commonwealth Government would not have any security for the dwelling which it erected?

3.   Will he have his statement and the Government's policy reconsidered in view of tho following contained in an official letter to the honorable member for Wide Bay, dated 23rd Filly last, from the Under Secretary, Department of Mines, Brisbane: "Under section 29 of the Miners' Homestead Leases Acts, 1913 to 1939, miners' homesteads, or sub-leases thereof, may be charged or made security for the payment of a sum of money by the execution and registration of a memorandum of mortgage, and, under the same section, if default is made in the payment of the money secured by the mortgage according to its tenor, tho rights of mortgagees are set out, including the right to enter into possession and sell the lease to a qualified person for the recovery of the debt or liability duo"?

Mr Lazzarini - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   Such applications have been declined by the War Service Homes Commissioner. The War Service Homes Act as at present constituted does not permit the erection of homes on Crown leasehold land other than in the Northern Territory or the Territory for the Seat of Government. 2 and 3. The question of empowering the Commissioner to grant assistance under the War Service Homes Act in respect of State Crown lands hold in perpetual leasehold is now being examined and I hope to be able to make an announcement in regard thereto at an early date.

Unrra : Status oe Australia ; Commitments.

Mr Chifley y. - On the 29th August the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) asked whether my attention had been drawn to press reports of two statements made by the Australian representative, Mr. Bruce, in the final full session of the council of Unrra in London.

In proposing the inclusion of Australia in the central committee of the council of Unrra, and supporting the proposed inclusion of Canada and France, Mr. Bruce was acting on the instructions of the Australian Government. Australia is the fourth largest contributor to Unrra, and has taken an active part in all phases of its development. Australia's position in the Pacific enables it to make a special contribution to the solution of Unrra's Far Eastern problems. The resolution appointing France and Canada to the central committee was agreed to unanimously on the 25th August. The Australian resolution for the inclusion also of Australia, along with Brazil and Yugoslavia, received 29 votes against 7, but as the vote of the Soviet Union was negative, the resolution, under article Sb, was declared . not carried. The Soviet representative subsequently asked that his vote be altered to one of abstention, explaining that he had only voted in the negative since he had received no instructions from Moscow. We are continuing to press for Australia's inclusion in the central committee, however, and I am hopeful that we shall be successful.

Mr Harrison (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Acting Minister for External Affairs -

1.   To what extent is Australia committed to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration for (a) administrative expenses, (b) sterling exchange, (c) food id) clothing and (e) other assistance?

(2)   To what extent have thesecommit- ments been met, and on what dates were payments made or the transfer of goods authorized ?

Mr Makin - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1. (a) £A47,000 for 1944 and £A35,000 for 1945. (b) There is no commitment specifically to sterling exchange, but our commitment to supply free foreign exchange is equal to 10 per cent. of our overall contribution of £A1 2,000,000. This amount is therefore £A 1,200,000 which may or may not include sterling exchange, according to circumstances. (c), (d) and (e) Our total financial commitment to Unrra for these items is £10,800,000. less administrative expenses.

2.   These commitments have been met as follows: - Payments made for administrative expenses for 1944 totalled £A47,000; for 194.5 £35,000. The payments of last year were lodged with the Commonwealth Bank by an initial instalment of £5,000, and three subsequent amounts of £14,000. The payment of the £35,000 allocated for 1945 wasmade by lump sum early this year. The exact dates on which the payments were made to the Unrra account are not immediately available but they can, of course, be obtainedif the honorable member so desires.

With regard to commitments of clothing, food and goods, already approximately £5,000,000 or nearly half of the total Australian contribution of £10,800,000 has been either spent or earmarked. The only conditions attached to this contribution are of physical capacity and existing commitments. The main items include raw wool and secondhand clothing, but recently the Government made available £350,000 worth of foodstuffs, including dehydrated and canned meats, jam, peas and chocolate. A vessel also left Australia a few weeks ago carrying a considerable quantity of new clothing, in addition to that donated by the Australian public. In addition to these items.7½ tons of vegetable seeds are on order for despatch to the Philippines and over 2,500 tons of steel for rehabilitation purposes are now ready for shipment wherever required. Negotiations regarding payments of free exchange are at present going on, but no finalization has yet been reached.

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