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Thursday, 26 March 1942

Mr SPOONER (ROBERTSON, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I desire to ask the Minister for the Navy a question relating to the very necessary regulation which confers upon the chief of the naval staff certain powers for the immobilization of small craft along the coast, and in the rivers and estuaries. My question refers, not to the necessity for the regulation, but to the manner of its administration ;it the present time. Is the Minister aware that even at this moment, according to a telephone message which I have just received, at places like Wiseman's Ferry and Leet's Vale, 25 miles inland, people are unable to cross the river in order to go to and return from their work? Will he despatch an officer imme- Idiately to places like the Hawkesbury River and Brisbane Watei'3 for the purpose of investigating allegations that thousands of boats are left there uncared for? Will the Minister also make a statement upon the matter of the payment of compensation to people who depend upon the boats for their livelihood?

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