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Wednesday, 19 May 1965

Senator PALTRIDGE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Defence) - The honorable senator seeks the easiest solution that he can find to a problem which is exciting considerable comment, is causing inconvenience, and has done so for some time. But what he very conveniently overlooks is that not only is the conduct of ports a State responsibility but the ports, especially metropolitan ports such as Sydney, are a source of vast revenues for the State Governments. If the honorable senator were to examine the amount of revenue that has been received over a given number of years and compare it with the expenditure that the States have embarked upon in relation to port works, he might get a clearer picture of the situation. The Senate will know that in special circumstances, sometimes in the case of isolated ports and particularly where the port authorities were not themselves in possession of sufficient revenue to finance expansion, this Government has helped and helped very considerably for the purpose of stimulating exports.

As to the other part of the question regarding the assumption of financial responsibility for a port of the nature of Sydney, I can only suggest that the honorable senator should address it to the State Government of New South Wales. He should inquire particularly why the former Government of that State did nothing to improve port facilities over the last few years.

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