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Friday, 19 May 1939

Mr STREET (Corangamite) (Minister for Defence) .- The honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway) brought under my notice the necessity for a better distribution of work in connexion with ship construction, his allegation being that a majority of this work is being done in New South Wales. The honorable member asked, first, if Cockatoo Island Dockyard has a monopoly of naval construction work, and, secondly, whether opportunity would be afforded to other dockyards to tender for such constructional work. The Cockatoo Island establishment has no monopoly of naval constructional work, and opportunities will be given for other dockyards to tender. If the Williamstown dock mentioned by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway) has the plant and machinery necessary to do this class of work, and can carry it out at a competitive price, I see no reason why contracts should not be placed in that quarter.

The honorable member for Boothby (Mr. Price) has raised once again the subject of a graving dock. I am given to understand that this topic is not new to the honorable member, because, when he was a member of the House of Assembly in South Australia, he was known as " Graving Dock Jack", so frequently did he bring the subject under the notice of the Premier of the day. I can only repeat that the site which he has suggested, together with those recommended inWestern Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and Queensland, will be taken into consideration, but, obviously they all cannot be finally selected.

I shall discuss further with the honorable member for Melbourne Ports his representations in regard to three sm all twin-engined oil-burning ships to be built and several contracts for 100 buoys which I do not think have yet been placed. I shall make sure that the authorities whose claims he has advocated to-day are given full opportunity to tender for this work.

Question resolved in. the affirmative.

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