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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4387

Mr CHARLES JONES (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) - I direct my question to the Prime Minister. Have 21 years elapsed since the Tariff Board commenced its inquiry into the shipbuilding industry and has its report been in the hands of the Government since 12th July this year? Has a Cabinet sub-committee been considering the location of a new graving dock for over 12 months? Has the Newcastle State Dockyard submitted a plan for the construction of a new graving dock capable of docking and repairing large bulk carriers and tankers operating on the coast? Further, I ask whether the right honourable gentleman has any information as to what progress has been made with these reports and when a decision can be expected. Finally,I ask how much longer is the Government going to sit on the reports.

Mr McMahon - I would ask the Minis ter for Trade and Industry to answer the honourable member's question.

Mr ANTHONY (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Deputy Prime Minister) -I was asked a similar question some weeks ago andI said in reply that the Tariff Board report had been received. I pointed out that this was a very complex report and that it was being given close Government examination. Further I said that the examination was being carried out by an interdepartmental committee and that we hoped to be able to hand down a decision as soon as possible. I am fully conscious of the difficulties that the delay is causing the shipbuilding industry. I am fully aware of the uncertainty that prevails at the moment as to the industry's future. Igive an assurance that we will deal with the report as expeditiously as possible. I would hope that a decision might be made early in the New Year.

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