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Wednesday, 3 October 1956


Mr Whitlam m asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -

1.   Has the Commonwealth had discussions in the last twelve months with the South Australian Government for the conversion of the railway between Port Pirie and Cockburn to 4-ft. 8½-in. gauge?

2.   Has the Commonwealth ever taken steps to acquire the Silverton tramway in accordance with the Railway Standardization Agreement (South Australia) of 1949?

3.   Has the Commonwealth had discussions in the last twelve months with the Western Australian Government for the conversion of the railway between Kalgoorlie and Fremantle to 4-ft. 8½-in. gauge?

4.   How often, and for what periods, have trains been unable to travel between Marree and Alice Springs owing to floods in the last ten years?


Mr Townley (DENISON, TASMANIA) (Minister for Air) - The Minister for Shipping and Transport has furnished the following answers to the honorable member's questions: -

1.   No. The conversion of this 3-ft. 6-in. railway to 4-ft. 8½-in. gauge is provided for in the Rail Standardization (South Australia) Agreement Act No. 83 of 1949. No time is stipulated in the agreement for the carrying out of the work. The Government of South Australia has indicated a preference for work in the Mount Gambier area to be undertaken first and work in this area is proceeding.

2.   Preliminary discussions took place in 1952 between the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner and directors of the Silverton Tramway

Company in connexion with the proposed acquisition of that railway, but, although the directors of the company expressed a willingness to dispose of the assets, agreement was not reached on an acceptable value of the assets. Pending a decision on the time when the Port Pirie to Cockburn railway may be standardized, no further discussions have taken place for either mutual transfer or compulsory acquisition of the tramway.

3.   No. The last discussions between the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner and the Western Australian Government Railways Commission took place in September, 1954. It was decided at the conference that the Western Australian commissioners would supply further information in connexion with the cost of standardization, rehabilitation and related matters. The information has not yet been furnished by the Western Australian Railways Commission.

4.   By financial years, the information sought is -

 

A total of fifteen occasions for a total of 91 days over the ten-year period.







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