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Wednesday, 3 June 1970

Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice:

(1)   On what dates did the Commonwealth Fire Board

(a)   inspect Cockatoo Island (New South Wales) Dockyard and

(b)   report to his Department on the principles and minimum standards of lire protection which should be adopted there (Hansard, 5th May 1970, page 1668).

(2)   What alterations did the Board recommend in the principles and standards previously applied at the dockyard.

(3)   What steps have been taken to carry out those alterations and when is it expected that they will be completed.

Mr Killen (MORETON, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for the Navy) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(I)   Number of Industrial Agreements certified under section 31 of the Act since1956 -


(2)   and (3) The Commission has refused to certify agreements on four occasions as under:

(1)   (a)16th and 17th December 1969

(b)   2nd April 1970.

(2)   In addition to pointing out certain minor deficiencies which are beng remedied, the Board

(a)   made detailed recommendations on firefighting equipment and facilities which should be provided and

(b)   recommended that firefighting should be entrusted to professional firemen on a 24- hours a day basis.

(3)   In regard to the answer given at 2 (a), the greater part of. the equipment requirements 'proposed are already in hand or programmed under a policy of progressive improvement of Cockatoo Dockyard firefighting facilities which has provided some $400,000 worth of improvements since 1966. Apart from certain salt water mains, which when completed about the end of 1971 will provide a secondary source of water for fire fighting. all the remaining improvements recommended should be completed by December 1970. In regard to the answer given at 2 (b), Cockatoo Island Dockyard is on lease to the Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Co. Pty Ltd. The Company has been asked to advise its proposals in regard to the implementation of this recommendation.

Social Services: Pensions (Question No. 1055)

Mr Wallis (GREY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for Social

Services, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact that discontent exists amongst age pensioners concerning the differential rates that apply between single and married age pensioners.

(2)   If so, will he ensure that these differential rates are considered during the preparation of the Budget with a view to their abolition.

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

(1)   and (2) It is generally accepted by pensioners and all concerned with their welfare that a surviving spouse needs more than half the pension income available to a married pensioner couple to maintain an equal living standard. This matter among others will receive the normal consideration during the preparation of the forthcoming Budget.

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