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Tuesday, 13 November 1973
Page: 1706

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -My question is addressed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Is it a fact that the Government is considering plans to spend $24m on a new Australian embassy complex in Tokyo, including especially $ 14m on an extra 4.5 acres of land? If so, will the Minister tell the Senate why such a costly project is necessary? Would this amount of money not meet a considerable portion of the cost of a new and permanent parliament house?

Senator WILLESEE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Foreign Affairs) -The Government does not intend to spend $2 4m on the Tokyo property. I think the honourable senator mentioned that we were thinking of buying 4.5 acres of ground. We already own 4.5 acres of ground and it is a tremendously valuable piece of property. How we came to get it in the first place I do not know. It is a wonderful situation to have- 4.5 acres of ground almost in the heart of Tokyo- and it would never be possible to get it again. Some moneys are being spent on redeveloping the whole complex, including houses and all the rest of it; but we are not intending to buy any land. We were negotiating to buy about an eighth of an acre, I think; but the last time I inquired, when I was there a few weeks ago, the negotiations had fallen through and we do not look like getting it. We already own the 4.5 acres. Some buildings are to be refurbished or taken down and rebuilt. The figure, though, is nowhere near $24m

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