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Thursday, 28 March 1957

Mr Clark k asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -

1.   What has been the result of the exploratory talks which the Prime Minister, in answer to a question asked by me on the 12th October, 1954, stated had taken place with the Silverton Tramway Company in relation to acquiring the portion of the line owned by that company for the purpose of connecting Broken Hill and Port Pirie by standard railway gauge?

2.   Is difficulty still being experienced in obtaining men and materials for standardization?

3.   In view of the unemployment that now exists and the national value of completing the standardization of this line, will the Government now proceed with this work?

Mr Townley - The Minister for Shipping and Transport has supplied the following answers: -

1.   No decision has yet been reached as a result of the talks referred to.

2.   At the present time, men and materials are available to meet demands of all standardization works at present in hand.

3.   There is, of course, no significant degree of unemployment in Australia. However, the matter of standardization is one of Government policy and the question of further action will depend on the decision the Government may make.

Pollution of the Sea.

Mr Webb b asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -

1.   Are Western Australian beaches still being polluted by oil dumped in the sea from ships?

2.   Is it a fact that, in February, 1956, in reply to a question asked by me, the Minister advised that discussions were then proceeding with State authorities on measures necessary in Australia to enable the international convention, aimed at preventing pollution of the sea by oil, to be ratified by the Commonwealth?

3.   If so, will he advise the result of the discussions with the State authorities, and if Australia is any nearer ratification of the convention?

Mr Townley - The Minister for Shipping and Transport has furnished the following replies: -

1.   During the last twelve months, reports of pollution of the sea by oil in Western Australia continued to be received, the latest recorded being on 23rd January last. The majority of the cases reported were in Cockburn Sound, but it is not known whether the pollution was due to spillage, leakage or dumping from the ship. Some cases of pollution of beaches north of Fremantle were reported and these could have been due to dumping of oil at sea.

2.   Yes.

3.   The permanent committee of the Australian port authorities, which had been asked by the Department of Shipping and Transport to consider the steps necessary to give effect to the convention for the prevention of the pollution of the sea by oil, and to advise on the division of responsibility as between the Commonwealth and the States, appointed a sub-committee which included the Commonwealth Director of Navigation and representatives of State maritime authorities to investigate the matter and report back to the committee. The sub-committee met in June, 1956. and furnished its report to the committee. The report and recommendations were considered at the conference of the Australian Port Authorities Association, which was held last month at Hobart. Conference adopted the report. A draft bill containing the provisions to be included in State legislation has been prepared and circulated to members of the Australian Port Authorities Association for comment. The comments will be considered by the permanent committee of the association at its next meeting, probably in July or August next. When the views of the permanent committee of the Port Authorities Association are known, the Commonwealth and State Governments will be in a position to proceed with the legislation necessary to implement the provisions of the convention.

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