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Friday, 12 September 1969

Mr Charles Jones (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) - In the few minutes left for debate on the estimates for the Department of Shipping and Transport I wish to point out that one of the things that certainly must concern the electors of Grey is that the honourable member for Grey (Mr Jessop) did not participate in this debate to raise once again-

Mr Sinclair - The honourable member for the Northern Territory spoke on behalf of the honourable member for Grey.

Mr Charles Jones (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) - 1 did not know that it was possible for one honourable member to speak on behalf of an another honourable member. The honourable member for Grey did not raise two very important subjects here, namely, the construction of a new rail link from Whyalla to Port Augusta and also the standardisation of the rail link from Adelaide to Port Pirie. These are two very important matters.

Mr Pearsall - The honourable member for Wilmot was not here yesterday to talk about the water scheme in his State.

Mr Charles Jones (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) - The honourable member for Wilmot was sick in bed at home. The honourable member for Franklin knows that. This is the type of trick one would expect from Government members.

Mr Sinclair - Only ten members of the Australian Labor Party are present in the Committee now.

Mr Charles Jones (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) - That does not matter. Call for a quorum if you wish. It is most important that these matters should be brought to the attention of the Government. The Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair) in reply to questions by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) continually has hedged on this matter. He has not been prepared to make a clear statement as to whether the Government w'ill construct a rail line from Whyalla to Port Augusta, to connect that line to the trans-continental railway and to provide an additional access to assist Whyalla and the development of South Australia. The Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd has indicated its desire to ship steel by rail from its Whyalla steel plant. Yet, this Government is not prepared to do anything about this rail link. Huge quantities of steel are being transported in a most uneconomic way by road from Whyalla to Port Pirie. This Government continues to dither by not making up its mind whether it will construct this line. On the subject of the standardisation of the rail link between Adelaide and Port Pirie, 1 point out that there is an agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the State of South Australia going back to the days of the Chifley Labor Government in this place. Once again, the Liberals have let South Australia down.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The time allotted for the consideration of the estimates of the Department of Shipping and Transport has now expired.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Department of Civil Aviation

Proposed expenditure, $60,895,000.

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