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Thursday, 17 August 1972
Page: 360


Mr WALLIS (Grey) - 1 would like to make a small contribution to the debate on this Bill. As was indicated by the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) and the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster), the Opposition does not intend to oppose the Bill. In his second reading speech the Minister for National Development (Sir Reginald Swartz) refers to the national water resources development programme which was part of the scheme to give the States $100m for rural water conservation and supply works, flood mitigation and water measurement. This Bill covers the extension of this programme to a particular area of Victoria. The Press statement made by the Minister for National Development and the Victorian Minister for Water Supply refers to the Millewa scheme in the following terms:

The project was not expected to change greatly present production of the area which was primarily wool and fat lambs together with wheat, barley and oats and some cattle grazing.

The Ministers said the scheme would allow an expanded sheep population to utilise fully the improved pastures developed in recent years.

I do not think there is anything controversial in that or anything with which anyone would disagree. I have not been to the area and could not dispute what has been said. But in the Grey electorate we have a similar area which has been the subject of an approach for a grant under the national water resources development programme. We certainly do not have the River Murray alongside but there is the Polda scheme which when connected with the other schemes on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, can supply a great volume of stock water and water for other purposes to this fairly large area. There is one area near Kimba in the middle of the Eyre Peninsula which has been in trouble for a number of years through lack of water. It is a productive area but the whole trouble is that there is no surface water. The South Australian Government decided to allocate a certain amount of money to put in a pipeline from Lock to Kimba to service this area with water. Unfortunately the South Australian Government because of its limited finances has been able to allocate only so much a year for this scheme. It has done this and has made application to the Commonwealth for assistance under the national water resources scheme.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honourable member is not speaking to the Bill. This has nothing to do with the scheme in South Australia. The honourable member has not as yet shown the relationship of his remarks to the provisions of this Bill. I hope that he will soon do so.


Mr WALLIS - I want to make a comparison between the 2 schemes. I have already mentioned the produce from the electorate of Grey and I will refer to an answer given to me last year by the Minister for National Development (Sir Reginald Swartz) in reference to the Lock-Kimba scheme which services an area which also produces wool, wheat, barley and oats. In answer to my question the Minister said:

The Premier of South Australia has now been informed that the Commonwealth is not prepared to consider financial assistance for the Lock-Kimba scheme at this stage. Having regard to the uncertain situation in the wool industry it is deemed inappropriate to provide special assistance under the National Water Resources Development Programme to support an expansion in the industry in one area, at the same time as the Government is involved in measures to alleviate the economic problems of the industry generally.

The request for financial assistance was refused because it was considered that there was no future for sheep in that area. A Press statement by the Minister in conjunction with the Victorian Minister for Water Supply is as follows:

The Ministers said the scheme would allow an expanded sheep population to utilise fully the improved pastures developed in recent years.

What the Minister for National Development said last year in reference to the Lock-Kimba pipeline contradicts what he has had to say about this scheme. I am in no way trying to knock or oppose this scheme but I would like the Federal Government to apply the same thinking to the Lock-Kimba scheme. I would like to develop this argument a little further but I think that you, Mr Speaker, would probably call me to order. Now that the Government of South Australia has again made a submission to the Commonwealth for assistance to complete the Lock-Kimba pipeline, I hope that the Commonwealth will give sympathetic consideration to South Australia's request as it did to the request of the Victorian Government. The Victorian scheme is to cost $2.9m and the State Government has already spent $900,000 and the Commonwealth Government will come to the party with the remaining $2m. The South Australian Government is certainly playing its part. Last week it allocated a further $675,000 to the Lock-Kimba scheme and I hope that the Commonwealth Government will give further consideration to the submission made by the South Australian Government requesting financial assistance to enable the scheme to be finalised.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.







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