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Wednesday, 3 June 1942


Mr CHIFLEY (Macquarie) (Treasurer) (5:12 AM) . - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

It is not often that Parliament is called upon to deal with lighthouse matters. The first Commonwealth act relating to lighthouses was passed in 1911, and provided machinery for the transfer of coastal lighthouses and marine marks from the various States to the Commonwealth, for the future maintenance and improvement of such lighthouses and marino marks, for the erection of additional aids to navigation, to complete the lighting of the 12,000-mile coastline of the Commonwealth, and for the collection of Commonwealth light dues. It was decided that, before the act should come into operation, an officer should, on behalf of the Commonwealth, inspect all coastal lighthouses and marine marks which had been provided by the States, and report as to the aids to navigation that should l>e taken over from the States, the improvements necessary, and the additional aids required to light efficiently the coastal shipping tracks. This report was completed in 1912, but owing to delays in reaching agreement with the various States as to the properties and personnel to be transferred, and the conditions of transfer, the act did not come into operation until the 1st July, 1915. In the latter year, a small amending act was passed, providing for the acquisition of lighthouses and marine marks by compulsory process where agreement could not be reached with any State.- In 1919, another small amending act was passed, providing that any damage caused to a Commonwealth lighthouse or marine mark by any person or by any ship should be made good by the person or by the master or owner of the ship concerned ; also that such damage should be reported without delay to the Collector of Customs at the first port of call. The act has not since been amended.

The regulations made under the Lighthouses Act provide for the exemption of certain classes of ships, for example, vessels belonging to the Royal Navy or the Royal Australian Navy, ships in distress and mission ships, from the payment of light dues, and also for the remission of light dues in certain cases, for instance, in respect of a ship laid up and not engaged in trade for a period of one month. Recently the Crown Law advisers pointed out that the act did not authorize such a provision by regulation, and it is therefore proposed in this bill to provide for the granting of such concessions by regulation. The matter can be more fully dealt with when the clauses are being discussed in committee. Another clause in the bill is designed to give the Minister or his officer power to carry materials over private property where it is necessary to erect or maintain a light. Obviously, such a power is necessary where places may be so inaccessible that there is only one reasonable approach to the area, and that across private property. This matter also is briefly mentioned now, and may be further discussed in the committee stage. The other three clauses of this short bill are of a strictly formal nature, and I am confident that honorable members will find themselves in agreement with each proposal made.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.

Bill - by leave - read a third time.







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