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Wednesday, 16 August 1972
Page: 137

Senator O'BYRNE asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:

(1)   Is the Minister aware that severe criticism is being levelled at the Australian National Line because of the deterioration in the standard of comfort afforded tourists visiting Tasmania caused by the substitution of the 'Bass Trader' for the Empress of Australia' on the Sydney-Hobart run.

(2)   Will the Minister seek an investigation into the allegation that the Australian National Line is purposedly lowering the standard of the tourist service to Tasmania in order to get out of the passenger carrying business and to concentrate on the more profitable freight transport trade.

Senator COTTON (New South WalesrMinister for Civil Aviation) The Minister for Shipping and Transport has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   I am aware that some passengers travelling on the Australian National Line's vessel, 'Australian Trader', between Sydney and Hobart have expressed a measure of dissatisfaction with the standard of facilities available.

A significant proportion of the difficulties presently being encountered result from several industrial issues which have had an adverse effect on the service to passengers.

Recognising the importance of passenger comfort, 2 senior officers, of the Australian National Line, recently travelled on 'Australian Trader' to carry out detailed enquiries concerning passengers' complaints and to investigate at first hand the deficiencies that are claimed to be affecting the standard of comfort and service.

(2)   I cannot agree with the allegation that the

Australian National Line is lowering the standard of tourist service to Tasmania in order to withdraw from the Tasmanian passenger service. On the contrary the Line has been at pains to keep Australian Trader' up to the same standard as Empress of Australia' and the vessel has just completed a refit at Newcastle for this purpose.

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