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Thursday, 20 October 1983
Page: 2077

Mr HICKS(10.23) —I would like to change the tone of the adjournment debate and speak about a few small towns in my electorate. The first one I would like to speak about is Tibooburra. I do not know how many honourable members have been to Tibooburra but it is a great little town. It is not far south of the Queensland border in the far north-west of New South Wales. Its main claim to fame is probably that it is one of the hottest places during summer. It gets the highest average summer temperatures in New South Wales. Some honourable members may have seen it on the weather map. The town of Tibooburra consists of two hotels, a few shops, an office of the Pastures Protection Board and a hospital. Of course the people there have great difficulty communicating with the outside world. Tibooburra is approximately 300 miles north of Broken Hill. It would take four hours to travel from Broken Hill provided there had not been wet weather. So the people in Tibooburra really are isolated.

One of the problems in Tibooburra is that the people cannot get television. That is understood. Apart from that, on many occasions they cannot get a radio signal. Ever since I have been the member for Riverina I have tried to be in touch with the Department of Communications and various other organisations to try to do something about the transmitter in Broken Hill. Although the people in Tibooburra can get signals occasionally-not very reliable ones-from other parts of Australia, I think it is very important that they obtain a signal from an area that has something in common with them. On writing to the various departments I have been informed that Tibooburra will have to wait until 1985 when the satellite is in orbit. I do not think that is reasonable because I am sure that for a small amount of money the transmitter in Broken Hill could be directed in such a way that Tibooburra could get a signal. I would like to take some Government members to Tibooburra and leave them there after a heavy rain.

Mr Simmons —I have been there.

Mr HICKS —Yes, I know the honourable member for Calare has been to Tibooburra. I am sure he has. However, very few other honourable members have. Now I will travel a little south to White Cliffs which is not far west of Wilcannia. White Cliffs is an opal mining town. It has a great little population. Most of the people live underground. At White Cliffs there is one hotel and a post office. The main problem of the people there is that they do not have an assured water supply. It cost I think, about $1.25m for solar absorbers to set up an electricity supply for the city on an experimental basis. I think that is a great thing, but I think first things should come first. I think that if $1.25m could be spent for that purpose perhaps a good water supply for the town should be more assured. There was the case of the gentleman who started to build a small hotel and for about three years he did not have enough water to make the bricks. There has been some rain there. I am just hoping that the town dam is full now and that the people have water for 18 months or two years. I call on governments, both State and Federal, to look into the situation at White Cliffs because I think it is about time that the people there--

Mr Brumby —We will go along with you.

Mr HICKS —I thank the honourable gentleman very much.

Mr Griffiths —We could build another dam like the Burdekin Dam.

Mr HICKS —There is a good case in point. If we could have a little of that money in White Cliffs I am sure we could provide an adequate water supply for the town of White Cliffs.