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Wednesday, 10 May 1961

Mr OPPERMAN (CORIO, VICTORIA) (Minister for Shipping and Transport) - As the honorable member for Braddon knows, the Government has always given the utmost consideration to Tasmanian shipping, and, I believe, with eminent success. The King Island proposal is in a somewhat different category. Captain Houfe has given excellent service with two small vessels over a period of time, and I think the King Island people appreciate that.

At the present time there is under consideration a proposal for the construction of a vessel 140 feet long, with a 25-ft. beam and having a draught of 8 feet and a speed of10½ knots. Such a vessel would be suitable for the King Island trade, but there is the problem of financing its construction. As to subsidies, I remind the honorable member that the Tariff Board has recommended that subsidy be not payable on vessels of less than 500 tons. The matter of financing the project is being investigated at the moment. Captain Houfe is in constant contact with the departmental officers, who are giving him every consideration and every assistance. I understand that the Commonwealth Development Bank had the matter under consideration as recently as last week.

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