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Thursday, 17 May 1973
Page: 2258

Mr WALLIS (GREY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question to the Minister for Transport refers to the announcement made by the Minister last January in which he instructed the Commissioner of the Commonwealth Railways to re-call tenders for the supply of sleepers, both concrete and timber, for use by the Commonwealth Railways in the construction of and maintenance work on the Commonwealth Railways system. Will the Minister state whether tenders have now closed? If so, when can we expect an announcement to be made as to whether concrete or timber sleepers will be used on that system?

Mr CHARLES JONES (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) (Minister for Transport) - It is true that I rescinded the previous Government's decision on the use of concrete and timber sleepers because I considered it to be a most political decision - indeed, a biased one. I will just give the honourable member some information. The Commonwealth Railways has called for tenders for sleepers, both concrete and timber, for the section of the railway line between Port Pirie and Port Augusta and on the trans-continential section adjacent to Port Augusta. Tenders will close on 5 June, at which time the Bureau of Transport Economics will take into consideration the prices tendered by the manufacturers of concrete sleepers and the suppliers of timber sleepers. The price and the technical properties of both types of sleeper will be taken into consideration. Honourable members should bear in mind that both industries involved are Australian industries employing Australian labour. The industry which is considered to produce the most economic, and able to supply the best form of sleeper will be the one chosen to fulfil the order.

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