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Thursday, 23 August 1984
Page: 291

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK(6.09) —I commend the report on the Australian Maritime College. I do so with a degree of self-interest as I was privileged to be the Minister who inaugurated the college. It is true that it was a bipartisan matter. Indeed, both the concept and the decision on location were bipartisan.

Senator Peter Rae —I wouldn't entirely agree with that. They were put forward by some and taken up by others.

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —That is right. Having been somewhat the accoucheur of the college I have read the report with particular interest. What I want to do at the outset in my limited time is record my tribute, and I think that of the Senate, to the retiring Chairman, Tom Swanson. Tom Swanson is a great Australian and that fact should be recorded. He was very distinguished in his own chemical industry. He was Chairman of the Commission on Advanced Education in its early days. He was the inaugural chairman of the Maritime College and he has gone on to the full Council. On behalf of us all I say thank you to someone who has made a very great contribution to education in Australia and who has been the founding father of the college.

I understand the eagerness of those honourable senators who want to speak on this matter, particularly the Tasmanian senators. It is exciting to note from the report that some 546 students are now enrolled in the college. This was envisaged, but some thought it was optimistic. I also want to pay a tribute to the teaching staff and those who are on the Council, all of whom I think have done a first class job. I was interested in Senator Boswell's remarks. The college trains people in seamanship from every aspect, from the most sophisticated to the least sophisticated, and includes the fishing industry.

Australia is a great maritime nation with a littoral longer than virtually any other nation, lapping into three or four great oceans. It is to our great shame that we have not developed our skills in the maritime field, that we have not exploited the fishing industry, and this now is one of the great steps forward. In my view in time it will be of international status. I am delighted that it has received its major simulator so that it can, in fact, simulate the navigation bridge of vessels and can train in upper deck navigation. Of course, it must also have engine room simulators and various other technologies.

I am very well aware of the eagerness of the people of Bundaberg to develop a subsidiary training college for fishing. I have indeed been taken willingly to possible venues for such a college which need to be investigated by the Government. I recognise that the tropical and semi-tropical fields offer particular challenges that others might not. I believe the two can work together . Australia needs to develop its industries and increase its production. No industry has more potential than the deep sea fishing industry. Sadly for us, other nations, particularly Russia, Japan, Taiwan and Korea, have gone farther ahead. We have tended to think small. We need to think big. We need to think about sophistication and skills. I am excited that this journey has come so far. I commend all those who are associated with it.