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Friday, 1 December 1911

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) (Minister for Defence) . - I am endeavouring to obtain the Western Australian Act of 1903, but it is out of the Library at present. If the case is, as Senator Millen has stated, undoubtedly we shall make representations to get an alteration of the provision. The telegram from the Premier of Western Australia stating that it was proposed to revive the

Act of 1903 was only received on Wednesday last, and immediately I drew the attention of the Prime Minister to the fact that that Act only provided for the cession of 3 chains of land along the route. The Commonwealth Government had decided to ask for what the consulting engineer recommended, namely, an area halfamile wide on either side of the line, and so much additional land as may be required for legitimate railway purposes or water supply. As regards the sandhill country, we propose to adopt the suggestion of the consulting engineer, and to ask for the area of land referred to by the honorable senator. Undoubtedly the Government will make representations to the Government of Western Australia, and as regards the sandhill country to the Government of South Australia. I have not the slightest doubt that both Governments will be quite willing to meet us in that regard. I think that the provision for the cession of 3 chains to the Commonwealth was put in the measure simply because it was thought that that would be sufficient for the line, and not because the State would stand in the way of granting additional land.

Senator Millen - I think it was put in for this reason : that it is quite enough for the purpose of a railway within the State when more land could be obtained if necessary.

Senator PEARCE - No doubt when representations are made by the Commonwealth Government the Sill will be shaped accordingly. I can give the Committee the assurance that if there is any inconsistency with this measure we shall try to get it harmonized, and also make representations to the two State Governments in accordance with the recommendation of our consulting engineer, which has already been approved of.

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