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Friday, 31 October 1913

Senator MILLEN (New South WalesMinister of Defence) .- Speaking from memory, the last communication on this subject which I perused supported the statement made by Senator Rae. The number of rifles- being turned out is disappointingly small. So far only 500 completed rifles have been put together. The manager of the factory has himself drawn attention to this, and expressed his disappointment at it. 'Jio points out that a good deal pf the delay in turning out completed rifles is due to the difficulty of training men in the necessary processes, and also to the disinclination of a number of mechanics, who previously resided in Sydney, to reside at Lithgow. The men become anxious to get back to their old haunts, and it frequently happens that young men, after they have become to some extent skilled in mechanical operations which require to be performed at the factory, return to Sydney, and it is then necessary to train- other men.

Senator Rae - The magnetism of Sydney 1

Senator MILLEN - Yes; the call of the city. That is one reason which the manager furnishes for the slow progress apparently being made. It is a reason which obviously can be overcome in the process of time. I do not know that anything more can be done in the meantime than to permit the manager of the factory to continue to make the best efforts possible to overcome the difficulties to which he has himself directed attention.

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