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Friday, 30 September 1910
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Senator TURLEY (Queensland) . - Every honorable senator will agree that these marine offices should be made to pay their own way. This Bill is really intended to effect a consolidation of the navigation laws of Australia. Hitherto each State has enacted its own navigation laws. Each has charged different fees, because it has had to regulate them by the amount of revenue which it has received. At the present time the Minister cannot foresee what fees ought to be charged by the Commonwealth, because he cannot forecast the revenue which will be obtained. Experience alone can teach us what those fees ought to be. We might prescribe that they should be the minimum fees existing in Australia, and six months hence we might find that as a result the Government were losing a considerable sum, so that it would then be necessary to increase them. The Commonwealth is shouldering a responsibility which has never been assumed by any of the States in that it is providing not merely for the employment of superintendents, but also for seamen's inspectors, and these officers will have to be paid by the Crown. Consequently it is impossible to specify in this Bill the fees which should be charged. Until we know what our revenue is likely to be, it is better to deal with this matter by regulation.

Amendment negatived.

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