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Wednesday, 6 May 1987
Page: 2395

Senator ARCHER —My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport. Is the Government aware that there has been a major problem over many weeks involving shipping services between Tasmania and the mainland? Is the Minister aware of the appalling long term damage done to the Tasmanian economy as a result of the effect such intolerable breakdowns have on the primary, secondary and tourist industries of that State? What steps is the Government taking or will it take to ensure that strike free services are again provided for Tasmania?

Senator GIETZELT —Everyone would be aware of the continuing problems with freight in respect to Bass Strait. It is a problem which has been constantly on the agenda and constantly debated in Parliament. In fact, in the years that I have been here anything associated with Tasmania, including freight problems, usually results in every member from Tasmania, whatever his or her political persuasion, entering the debate. So this matter is not appearing on the agenda for the first time. I am able to respond only to that portion of Senator Archer's question that deals with the Australian National Line's announcements about increasing freight rates to and from Tasmania, to take effect from 1 June 1987. That is basically a commercial matter. That organisation is required to operate on a commercial basis. I shall refer the other matters that Senator Archer has raised to the Department of Transport for a more precise answer.