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Friday, 26 June 1914

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - It is most remarkable that we should be asked %to agree to a proposed vote for the lighthouse service when the Act has not yet been proclaimed, and whilst the States are still collecting the revenue relating to lighting dues. We were told the other day that some vessels had been bought for lighthouse purposes, and I believe that there is to-day an advertisement appearing in the English newspapers for three steamers to be em ployed in attending the lighthouses. The Government are working in this case under an Act which has not been proclaimed. Going down the street I saw a brass plate up indicating the locality of the Lighthouses Department of the Commonwealth. I should like to know what steps are being taken to proclaim the Navigation Act to which the King gave his assent a long time ago. I see no sum on the Estimates for carrying out operations under that Act. The sooner it is proclaimed the better. If it has taken three years to negotiate with the States upon the transfer of State lights to the Commonwealth, I wonder how long it will take to negotiate for the transfer of the Navigation Departments of the different States. In the case of the lighthouses, we had a report from a gentleman who was two years engaged in the work of inspection. He resigned, and another one was appointed in his place fully twelve months ago, and yet all this time the State Governments are making a profit out of the light dues, and the Commonwealth Government are receiving no revenue from them. I hope that Ministers will take this matter into consideration, and will see that the Lighthouses Act and the Navigation Act are proclaimed as soon as possible.

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