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Tuesday, 30 September 1958


Mr MENZIES - This matter has been before us in various ways. I have, in particular, had a letter from the New South Wales Premier asking the Commonwealth to co-operate with the New South Wales Government in this matter, the importance of which we realize. I had a discussion about it this morning with my colleagues in the Cabinet. I do not need to make a long statement about what were the proposals of the New South Wales Government, because I think they are perhaps fairly well known. In the result, we have decided, first of all, to concur in the lending of up to £150,000 to the Hunter District Water Board by the Joint Coal Board for the purposes outlined by the New South Wales Premier in his letter to me, and, of course, on financial terms which will no doubt be settled without much difficulty.

We have decided, in the second place, to authorize the Joint Coal Board - this authorization will no doubt be contingent upon a similar authorization by the New South Wales Government, because the organization concerned is, after all, the Joint Coal Board - to make available as a grant from the Coal Industry Fund another £150,000 on a £l-for-£l basis with the State for road works which will be calculated to improve communications between Cessnock and the Newcastle area. As honorable members know, a great point is made - very properly - that substantial improvement of the means of transport between Cessnock and Newcastle would help the development of a new kind of existence for Cessnock in relation to Newcastle, where, of course, there is great industrial expansion. In those circumstances, we think that improvement of the means of transport would have material advantages from the stand-point of all the people of Cessnock. Therefore, we visualize the provision of two amounts - the first, of £150,000, to be lent by the Joint Coal Board to the Hunter District Water Board, and the second, also of £150,000, to be provided as a grant on a £l-for-£l basis by the Joint Coal Board out of the Coal Industry Fund, for the purpose that I have mentioned.







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