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Tuesday, 30 November 1965

Mr McEWEN (MURRAY, VICTORIA) (Minister for Trade and Industry) - The advantages of- in fact, the need for - a direct shipping service of regularity between Australia and South American ports has been apparent as I have mentioned in the Parliament before. In the drive for trade to South America the Government has entered into contractual arrangements with two different shipping lines, one to serve the east coast and the other the west coast of South America, and has agreed, in certain circumstances which I have recounted to the Parliament, to make good any losses incurred by these shipping services. I am sure that the honorable member is right when he says that the direct shipping service has resulted in a saving of £18 10s. a ton in freight on certain commodities. But this is not the standard saving; it varies between commodities. As the Government has regarded this as a worthwhile service, it would not lightly allow the service to fail. The time has come when there must be a renewal of negotiations to sustain the service. I think these negotiations are imminent and I hope to be able to make a statement in the not distant future about the future of the service.

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