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Thursday, 4 May 1939

Mr HOLLOWAY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) y asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   What is the amount still owing to the Commonwealth Government by the shipping company which purchased the ships of the Commonwealth Government shipping line?

2.   Has the Government received and is it now receiving any interest upon the amounts outstanding?

Mr Menzies - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   The Commonwealth Line of Steamers was sold to the White Star Line Limited in 1928 for £1,900,000. The terms of the sale provided for a cash payment of £250,000 and ten annual instalments of £165,000 each. Prior to going into liquidation, the company had paid the sum of £1,238,000 as repayment of principal amount outstanding and £317,625 in respect of interest. The White Star Line Limited went into liquidation in 1935. At that date the amount owing to the Commonwealth in respect of principal and interest was £766,584. Since then litigation has occurred in regard to the question whether certain claims from other creditors should be admitted as debts due by the company. The Commonwealth has received amounts totalling £339,000 from the liquidator, leaving approximately £427,000 still outstanding in respect of principal and interest. On the basis of the latest information received; as indicated by a statement prepared by the Official Receiver showing the present position of the liquidation of the White Star Line Limited, it is estimated that the Commonwealth will receive a further and final dividend of approximately £11,000.

2.   The amounts due to the Commonwealth in respect of interest up to the date of the company going into liquidation are included in the figures quoted in the reply to No. 1. No interest accrues in respect of an outstanding debt from the date the company went into liquidation.

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