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Thursday, 26 August 1920

Mr HUGHES - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follow: -

1.   The alternative of such increase was the payment of a very much higher subsidy. The increase was approved after careful consideration of all the circumstances, and was intended to assist in covering the increased expense of running the mail steamers. The honorable member is probably aware that, with the release of Inter -State shipping, the Inter-State rates were increased by 20 per cent.

2.   No. The Controller had already approved of an increase of 20 per cent. in the coastal freights, and with this increase, the rates are still below those charged on the coast for shorter journeys.

3.   The increase has been approved by the Government as incidental to the making of a new mail contract with Messrs. Burns, Philp and Company, which took effect from 1st August, 1920.

4.   It is considered that freight and passenger rates are reasonable.

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