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Wednesday, 8 May 1985
Page: 1587

(Question No. 80)


Senator Jones asked the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce, upon notice, on 20 March 1985:

(1) Is the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce aware of a submission made by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) of Australia (Queensland Branch) to a Queensland Government Committee of Enquiry into the Transport of Petroleum Products; if so: will the Minister investigate the TWU allegations of phantom free trade between States and delivery of petroleum products to bogus depots while subsidies are claimed and received by independent wholesale distributors, or 'jobbers', for delivery to country areas, and of dangerous overloading of tankers threatening community safety.

(2) Does the Minister agree with a suggestion made by the union in its submission that the freight subsidy scheme should be abolished as it is being abused by 'jobbers' at tax payers' expense.


Senator Button —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) I am not aware of the specific allegations of abuse of the Scheme contained in the submission to which Senator Jones has referred. Senator Jones previously asked a question on the allegations of abuse of the Scheme made by the TWU and reported in the Brisbane Daily Sun on 27 February 1985. As I advised Senator Jones at that time, I have arranged for the Collector of Customs Queensland to have senior officers contact the Queensland Branch of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) of Australia and enquire into the nature of these allegations. I might add that the allegations of overloading which imply some danger to community safety are matters for the Queensland Government.

(2) Any allegations of abuse will be investigated and if substantiated appropriate action will be taken.