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Thursday, 17 August 1972
Page: 355

Sir WINTON TURNBULL (Mallee) - I am, of course, overjoyed that the Federal Government is to allocate $2m to this scheme. It really is a Victorian scheme. The Victorian Government has gone into the finest detail in examining the worth of the scheme and has backed it with $900,000, which it has already put into operation for the scheme. With the State Government putting in $900,000 and the Federal Government allocating $2m, we believe that that will be sufficient to complete the scheme, which I believe is unique in Australia. For several reasons, which I hope to be able to explain, I do not think that we can compare this scheme with what is happening in Queensland or in other States. We may be able to compare it with schemes that may take place in the future in South Australia or in other parts of Australia.

Ever since I entered this House - I think it was in the first month I was here - I have advocated priorities and, even though it may be tedious repetition, I still advocate the same priorities. I can show honourable members 20 places in Hansard where I have advocated these priorities. I have said that priority No. 1 should be defence. It is no good our having these schemes, good farms, houses, motor cars and a democratic government if we cannot protect them. So above all, this country should support defence. Perhaps some people in metropolitan areas would not agree with this, but I believe that the second priority is primary industry, coupled with satisfactory water conservation. Primary industry, as much as anything else, has built this country. The main factor in building up our national wealth has been primary industry, until recently when we have moved more into secondary industry which, of course, has priced itself out of world markets. But, nevertheless, we still depend to a large extent on primary industry.

I have always supported primary industry. If anybody asked me the main reason why I have supported it - whether it is because I know a lot of farmers or districts in Victoria and in other areas where I have lived; I have not lived in a city - I would say it was because primary industry, through the years, has produced the goods or, perhaps I should say, a surplus of primary products that have been sent overseas. The sale of these goods has built up our overseas balances. This has not resulted in money coming back to Australia but it has provided the means for purchasing all sorts of equipment. Without this equipment it would have been absolutely impossible to construct schemes such as the Snowy Mountains scheme.

Some people ask why the Snowy Mountains scheme was not started years earlier. The point is that you could not do the work with a horse and dray. But by the use of up to date earth moving equipment the scheme became a reality. We were able to purchase this equipment with the overseas reserves which had been built up by the sale of primary industry products. Therefore, I believe that by supporting primary industry - we in the Australian Country Party do this right up to the hilt - we are taking a national line.

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