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Thursday, 21 May 1970

Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for National Development the following question, upon notice:

What requests or suggestions were made at the meeting of die Minerals Council in September for legislative or administrative action by (a) the Commonwealth, (b) the Territories and (c) the States.

Mr Swartz - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The Australian Minerals Council is an advisory and consultative body of Commonwealth and State Ministers. Public pronouncements are not necessarily made oil ail matters that are discussed by the Minerals Council.

However a press statement was issued after the September, 1969, meeting of the Council which had been called to discuss the question of legislation to govern exploration for and exploitation of off-shore minerals other than petroleum.

I am arranging for a copy of the press statement to be made available to the honourable member. As announced in the press statement, State Ministers made known their belief that a scheme similar in broad outline to the off-shore petroleum arrangement should be adopted in relation to minerals other than petroleum. The press statement records that the Commonwealth Ministers present agreed that they would refer the State proposals to the Federal Cabinet for consideration.

Shipping: M.V. 'Slott' (Question No. 979)

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:

(1)   What is the name of the agents of the Karlander Line who arranged for the picking up of the New Guinean crew of the M.V. 'Stott'.

(2)   Can he say whether the agents knew that the New Guineans would receive a monthly wage of only $22.50 plus food, accommodation and issues and that the living conditions on the M.V. Stott' were unsatisfactory.

Mr Barnes - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Recruitment of the crew of the M.V. 491-, was arranged by New Guinea Goldfields Ltd.

(2)   The $22.50 referred to by the honourable member is a fortnightly rate and not a monthly rate. As stated in my answer to question 889, actual wages paid to Papuan and New Guinean seamen range from {12 a fortnight to $22.50 a fortnight plus meals, accommodation and issues.

The agents were acquainted with the rates of pay offered to the crew of the M.V. 'Slott' and understood that food, accommodation, and other issues were also to be provided. Living conditions were considered satisfactory by labour and marine officials before the articles of employment were signed.

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