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Tuesday, 25 October 1949

Mr McEWEN - Published reports which are available in Australia and in the United Kingdom confirm the truth, of what I have said and amply demonstrate that the Minister and his Government for two years put a squeeze on the United Kingdom to contribute financially to the development of this country. The Government stands condemned for its failure to show confidence in the future of this country and for the fact that it did not have the native wit to know that the world is meat hungry and that of all industries the beef industry will be the slowest to overtake existing shortages. Motor vehicles can be mass produced quickly, and the production of grains and, to a lesser degree, pig meat, can be increased within a comparatively short space of time, but it takes years to increase the production of beef. The. Government must be aware of that fact, but it has delayed the introduction of a measure such as this for years. While it was dithering with the United Kingdom Government and with its long-haired planners about this matter, it allowed to pass out of the Northern Territory quantities of earth-moving equipment of the type that is necessary for the construction of the roads that it is now proposed shall be constructed. The story of the way in which the Government allowed that equipment to be removed from the Northern Territory reveals a scandalous state of affairs. At the car park at Mataranka, 1,000 vehicles were sold for £3,000. Vehicles of that type are needed in the Northern Territory. The Government allowed some person to become a semi-millionaire as a result of that one transaction, but it has endeavoured to suppress the story. In addition, bulldozers and other items of equipment that were concentrated in the north of Australia for the conduct of the war have been sold to speculators at public auctions. Although the Government has proclaimed its desire to protect the people against the depredations of speculators, it has sold the equipment that could have been utilized to give effect to this plan to stimulate beef production in the Northern Territory, and at auction after auction it has facilitated the operations of speculators in northern Australia, to the detriment of persons who really want to get on with the job of producing meat in that part of the country. It has conducted auction sales at which have been sold the motor vehicles without which cattle properties in. the territory cannot be conducted properly. At the first auction sale that was conducted at Darwin, blitz buggies were offered ten at a time and were knocked down for £S apiece. That was done by a government which now, four years later, prates about wanting to stimulate meat production in the Northern Territory. Any man who wants to produce meat in the territory knows that he cannot get on with the job unless he has a motor vehicle. From where is he going to get it?

Mr Dedman - I suppose you would say that he produces meat with blitz buggies.

Mr McEWEN - You probably would not understand.

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