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Tuesday, 16 March 1971

Senator FITZGERALD (New South Wales) - J mentioned earlier in the debate that 1 had received a letter from the Nambucca Shire Council which intimated its eagerness to enter into the scheme. The letter I have was sent by the Shire Clerk to the Secretary of the Department of Public Works, Sydney. It reads:

Council understands that Commonwealth legislation is being introduced to provide funds for flood mitigation programmes on coastal rivers and the Nambucca River has been excluded at this stage. It is understood that investigation of the valley is to be undertaken this year. Council seeks clarification on whether it will be eligible for capital works if the investigation reveals thai this is desirable, and of course, if the works as suggested are within Council's capacity to meet by way of its share of contribution.

Your advices in this regard will be appreciated.

I would like the Minister to inform me of the situation in relation to the Nambucca River because, as I mentioned earlier, siltation is one of the issues which concerns the whole of this area. If the Nambucca River is excluded it could have an effect on this plan. We are not pushing this. In a sense we are wanting advice. We want it placed on record that we are cognisant of the fact that the Nambucca Shire Council is anxious to know whether it can come into the scheme. It is of no good the Minister to say: 'If this is carried it will hold up the whole of the works.' All these things could hold up the whole of the works if the Minister for National Development or the Government itself got the sulks about the adoption of the amendment moved by the Opposition tonight.

We want to see this work go on. We want to see progress. We want to see the

Nambucca River involved in the way that the people desire. The minister says that the inclusion of the Bellinger River in the scheme could hold up the whole works and the scheme could go astray. This will not happen because at the present moment the Bellinger Shire Council feels that it cannot afford the money that would be involved. But 1 do want to place on record our desire to see the inclusion of the Nambucca River in the scheme. 1' therefore ask the Minister for his opinion on our desire to see that river included.

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