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Wednesday, 1 June 1960


Mr McEWEN - I have no detailed knowledge of the matter, although I have heard something - I think from the honorable member himself in this House, as well as from other sources - about the displacement of people from employment due to the closing of some coal mines. However, I think that the Government of New South Wales has been extending some other coal mines. I concede, immediately, that the Commonwealth Government pursues a policy of full employment, and it has been successful in that policy; but the declaration of a policy of full employment does not involve the Government in an obligation to employ every unemployed person at the particular point at which he lives and may wish to have employment. That becomes a matter of detail in which the Commonwealth Government could not accept an unqualified responsibility. I know that on earlier occasions when there has been unemployment in the coal-fields area not only has my colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service, constructively concerned himself with that problem, but I myself have heard representations that touched on the possibility of establishing some new industry in the area. The fibre glass industry is one that comes to my mind. To the extent that the Commonwealth Government can, within its normal functional responsibilities, contribute to the easing of the present situation, I assure the honorable gentleman that it will do so. On the other hand, I think that the general circumstances of the coal industry in the Newcastle area are understood to be principally within the purview of the New South Wales State Labour Government.







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