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Wednesday, 23 March 1966

Mr Hayden n asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -

1.   Has an American firm headed by a Mr. Daniel K. Ludwig successfully negotiated a contract to transport bauxite by sea from Weipa to the new alumina refinery at Gladstone?

2.   If so, what is the term in years of the contract?

3.   Is it a fact that the contract is worth more than $18 million?

4.   Has Mr. Ludwig any ships operating on tha Australian coast?

5.   If not, what steps are proposed to ensure that ships used by him in connection with this contract are Australian-made and Australian-manned?

6.   Are any steps proposed by the Government to ensure that there will be a significant Australian ownership in the company operated by Mr. Ludwig in connection with this contract; if so, what are the details?

7.   Did the Australian National Line tender for this contract?

8.   If so, can he say why it was not successful?

Mr Freeth - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows - 1 and 2. Yes. Hasting Shipping Pty. Ltd., a recently formed Australian subsidiary of National Bulk Carriers Inc., of the Ludwig Group, has been awarded a 20-year contract for the carriage of bauxite from Weipa to Gladstone.

3.   Yes, in terms of the gross freight charges the contract is worth more than $18 million.

4.   No.

5.   The first shipment of bauxite is due to be lifted from Weipa during the first quarter of 1967 and it will not be possible to have a vessel constructed in Australia by that time. I have therefore agreed in principle to permit the importation of a suitable vessel for temporary operation pending the completion of an Australian built vessel, provided that a firm contract for completion of an Australian building as soon as practicable has been entered into prior to importation and that no ship licensed under the Navigation Act is available and able to provide an adequate service. It is expected that the ship will be Australian-registered and Australianmanned.

6.   No. 7 and 8. No. The powers of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission do not extend to intrastate shipping services.

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