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Wednesday, 29 June 1921

Senator EARLE (Tasmania) . - Have ' the Government considered the question of improving the shipping service between Papua and the mainland ? I have had a good deal of private correspondence from people living in Papua who are very optimistic concerning its possibilities, but they say that the principal obstacle in the way of advancement is the lack of communication. They are now dependent solely on the Burns, Philp line of steamers, which, I understand, is providing an irregular service. This is a considerable handicap to the people living in Papua who are carrying on business there. AsI understand some of the Commonwealth Line of Steamers are laid up, possibly the Governmeut might make the experiment of placing, at least, one of their boats in this trade. Will the Minister for Repatriation (Senator E. D. Millen) state whether the Government have given consideration to that proposition, or to any other which will bring the people inPapua and the Fiji Islands into closer communication with the mainland?

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