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Wednesday, 23 October 1974
Page: 1864

Senator KEEFFE - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Northern Development. Is he aware that the Premier and his Government in Queensland have initiated legislation to prevent members of the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation from operating in Queensland except under the clear direction of the State Government? As the Queensland Government opposes all development work north of Kingaroy, this move is obviously designed to prevent any further work on the Burdekin Dam. Can the Minister inform the Parliament whether the Australian Government will press on with plans for construction of the Burdekin Dam in spite of the opposition from the Queensland Government?

Senator WRIEDT (TASMANIA) (Minister for Agriculture) -Currently a joint FederalState committee is inquiring into the development of the Burdekin area to which Senator Keeffe has referred. It will involve not only agricultural development but also eventually, I believe, power generation. It is my understanding that there is a big potential for development in that area. This Government has endeavoured to make available the expertise of the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation to assist the States in these major developmental programs. It is my understanding that legislation is being drawn up in Queensland for the purpose of in some way frustrating this co-operation between the Queensland authorities and the Snowy Mountains Corporation. It seems an incredible thing to me that, where we make available these resources to any State, simply because of some personal feeling which appears to exist on the part of certain people in Queensland they are prepared to risk the further development of that scheme. I would have thought that the Queensland Government would be glad to cooperate with the Australian Government, irrespective of the feelings about politics and personalities which exist. But it seems that the people in the Burdekin area in Queensland may well be sacrificed because of these factors. I hope that common sense will prevail. It would be ridiculous to see the development of that area of Queensland suffer simply because the Premier of Queensland does not like this Government.

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