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Wednesday, 6 July 1949

Mr WHITE (BALACLAVA, VICTORIA) - According to a report in to-day's newspapers, the Prime Minister has announced that Cabinet has approved of recommendations by the Council of Defence to increase by £45,000,000 the allotments for the armed services for the five-year defence programme that was commenced in 1947. Of the new allocation, £41,000,000 is to meet the increased costs of the original programme, and the remaining £4,000,000 is to be expended on new defence projects, including the resumption of naval reserve training in January, 1950 and the provision of new types of bombs, pyrotechnics, rocket projectiles and small-arms ammunition for the Royal Australian Air Force. The press reports do not state whether the amount that has been allotted for the training of Army and Air Force personnel will be increased. Will the Prime Minister inform me whether the Council of Defence has reported to him that all the armed services are below strength and has made recommendations for overcoming that deficiency? Before the right honorable gentleman leaves for the United Kingdom, will he make a statement to the House on these matters, and say whether he considers that our defences are satisfactory?

Mr Chifley - The Minister for Defence will answer the question.

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