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Australia has a war on her hands her industries are geared to a war economy and her war effort in many directions is of a much greater magnitude than anything s h e achieved during the war in EuroDe This is the outstanding impression Mr. L. J. Stevens, of Auckland brings back after a visit to the Commonwealth during which h e had the opportunity of viewing a number of industrial enterprises at close range. Almost one-tenth of Australia's population were in the armed forces said Mr. Stevens. Immediate steps were to be taken to reduce thiq enormous drain on manpower resoui ces. There was ample room for criticism of conditions in Aus tralia, but it should be restrained in the light of her war commitments. "Broadly, it is apparent that the war effort is not entirely divorced from post-war planning for industrial development," Mr. Stevens said. "Away from the coastal areas many large industrial establishments have been erected by the Commonwealth Government under a scheme for dispersal of industries It is evident that in many cases these war plants are not necessary and will never be used. The impression is strong that in most instances they are located at places adaptable to future industrial development or where they can be co-ordinated with existing industries. obviously planning to be in the forefront of manufacturing countries after the Pacific war ends." Cheap Steel Asset

Mr. Stevens was able to inspect modern plants, particularly in the heavy industries, possessing the latest equipment and machinery which were well suited to switch over to the production of goods and commodities for civilian consumption in the shortest possible time. In the metallurgical industries there were steel forges and other installations which would enable post-war operations on a major scale. Much of the metal-working plant was readily adaptable to the manufacture of motor cars, while factories handling aluminium alloys were fully equipped to deal with aeroplane construction on a large scale. The whole basis of activities in the heavy industries, added Mr. Stevens, was correlated with the cheap and high quality steel which Australia was able to manufacture. There had been great expansion in steel manufacturing during the war and all the indications were that it would become a vital factor in the country's future industrial development, while its importance from the defence viewpoint was self-evident. Shipbuilding, too, on a greatly expanded basis, should become an economic possibility in view of the relatively cheaper price in Australia for steef plates and girders. Several 10,0Q0-ton vessels had come from Australian shipyards during the war.

Cotton Production Mr. Stevens pointed out that not only in the heavy industries, but in other directions as well, Australia showed signs of branching out substantially when hostilities ceased in the Pacific. The textile trades, especially the production of cotton, had widened their scope despite the decline in cotton production in Queensland where the growers had found the production of sugar cane more profitable, notwithstanding bounties. Moreover, there was evidence of tremendous development in rural areas despite the war conditions. Present plantings of wheat were estimated to yield 200,000,000 bushels next harvest—around record figures —while the barley crop was expected to produce 10,000,000 bushels. If these totals were realised there would be more than ample supplies of wheat and barley for New Zealand requirements next season.

"Provision exists for the conversion of any wheat surpluses into power alcohol by fermentation processes," added Mr, Stevens. ""Plants for this purpose have been installed by the Commonwealth Government, but they are under the immediate control of private enterprise. In this respect, as in certain others, Australia has recognised the value ot private enterprise."

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Bibliographic details

LOOKING AHEAD, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 183, 4 August 1945

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LOOKING AHEAD Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 183, 4 August 1945

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