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Wednesday, 30 November 1960

Mr McEWEN (MURRAY, VICTORIA) (Minister for Trade) - The Export Development Council has studied quite closely and continuously - indeed, it is in session to-day - the opportunities for exports, the goods that may be exported, where we may sell them and the limiting factors that may exist. I know that the council is highly conscious of the fact that exports of certain items, notably coal, are limited by the port and loading facilities available. My colleague, the Minister for National Development, who has an especial responsibility in regard to coal, is constantly making the point that if we had better port facilities in certain places such as Newcastle, I think Port Kembla, and at least one Queensland port adjacent to a great coal deposit, we would have an opportunity to increase our earnings from the export of coal. There are ready markets for coal and we can sell at a competitive price. We hope that, in the present circumstances, the State governments, which have a responsibility for ports and harbours, as well as mining, will give an appropriate priority to this very essential requirement. I still allow myself to hope that the State governments will give a higher priority to improving port facilities than they give to other matters involving the expenditure of their funds.

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