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Tuesday, 17 May 1960

Mr McEWEN - It was found several years ago that the Government explosives factory at Mulwala was not required to be in anything like full production to meet the Government's requirements. To sustain employment and to avoid imports, the Government arranged to switch the operations at the factory to the production of sulphate of ammonia, a nitrogenous fertilizer required for farms. If production of sulphate of ammonia were to continue at the factory at the present cost, a loss estimated at £30,000 a year would result, having regard to the cost of other nitrogenous fertilizers. In the circumstances, the Government felt that it was impelled in the public interest to reduce the operations of the factory.

The Government has studied quite carefully whether alternative operations could justifiably be continued in that portion of the factory, but this has not been found possible. The Government has, therefore, given long notice - as long as four months in some instances - to those who are to be retrenched, and has arranged with the Department of Supply to make jobs available to those who want them, in other government factories at St. Mary's near Sydney or at Albion in Victoria. A number of people are to be placed in this way. As well a» giving a substantial period of notice, the Government will defray, up to £100 in each case, the cost of removal to other areas of those who are displaced. At the same time, my department and the Department of Supply have expressed their willingness to co-operate with the Victorian Government or local authorities in any possible effort to place these people in any industry in the same locality.

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