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Tuesday, 19 May 1942

Mr Perkins (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) s asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -

1.   Is there any ordinance governing the number of passengers to be carried on motor omnibuses operating in Canberra?

2.   If so, what does such ordinance specifically provide?

3.   Is it a fact that there have been frequent complaints that omnibuses are often overcrowded to such an extent that members of the public have refused to travel on them for safety reasons?

4.   In view of the possibility that if one of these overcrowded omnibuses was involved in an accident considerable injury and perhaps loss of life might result, in the interests of public safety will he take immediate action to prevent overcrowding in the future?

Mr Lazzarini (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister Assisting the Treasurer) - The Minister for the Interior has supplied the following answers : -

1.   The Motor Traffic Ordinance 1936-1941.

2.   Section 24(3) provides for the licensing of omnibuses. The licence indicates the loading capacity for each vehicle. These loadings vary according to the size of the vehicle.

3.   Not so far as I am aware.

4.   The safety factor on the chassis of the vehicle is well above the licensed capacity of the vehicle. Additional omnibuses are on order, and delivery is overdue owing to war conditions. When these vehicles are available the position will be relieved. In the meantime, the effect upon omnibus loading of petrol rationing and the increased Canberra population, owing to services activities, is a condition which cannot be avoided. At the same time, the residents of Canberra must realize that, owing to the great difficulties which arc being experienced by the Transport Section of the department in providing the services, they must be prepared to expect some inconvenience at peak periods.

A new timetable, designed to provide for a more regular stream of traffic, is being prepared. It is hoped to introduce this timetable within about a month.

Mr Perkins s asked the Minister for Home Security, upon notice -

1.   Are there in existence any ordinances or regulations governing the provision of properly constructed air raid shelters in hotels and other buildings in Canberra in which more than twenty persons, or any given number of persons, are accommodated ?

2.   If such ordinances or regulations do exist, will he inform the House who is responsible for the provision of such shelters, and what action, if any, has been taken to ensure that they are provided?

Mr Lazzarini - The following answers have been supplied by the Minister for the Interior, who is responsible for enemy raids precautions in the Australian Capital Territory.

1.   Yes. The Air Raid Shelters Order made under the provisions of the Enemy Raids Precautions Ordinance 1942.

2.   The owner of every building normally accommodating twenty or more persons is responsible for the construction of air raid shelters, and the owner is liable to penalties provided under the Enemy Raids Precautions Ordinance 1942 for failure to comply with the provisions of the order. Where the Commonwealth is the owner, suitable protection against aerial warfare has been provided, either by internal measures or trenches, or both. Trenches have also been provided at shopping centres, schools, and other areas. Some private owners concerned have made the necessary provisions, and others arc either in course of doing so, or being notified of their obligations.

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