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Wednesday, 29 August 1973
Page: 514

Mr WALLIS (GREY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I direct my question to the Minister for Transport. Have contracts been called by the Commonwealth Railways for the supply of sleepers, both timber and concrete, for use on Commonwealth railways track maintenance and replacement between Port Augusta and Port Pirie and beyond? If so, has any finality been reached with these contracts, and, if so, what type of sleepers are to be used in this section of the transcontinental railway?

Mr CHARLES JONES - Tenders were called in April and closed in June for 200,000 pre-stressed concrete sleepers and 220,000 timber sleepers of 9 x 6 and 10 x 5. They have been referred to the Bureau of Transport Economics for evaluation and report to me. Before the Bureau makes its decision it will be required to examine a submission by the timber industry and one by the concrete industry as to the relative merits of the 2 types of sleepers. This arrangement is the result of a discussion which I had with the Premier of Western Australia, his Minister for Forests and another one of his Ministers who was involved in transport. They felt that we did not have all the information that we should have in favour of timber sleepers. So I agreed that the timber industry could make a submission to me which I would examine and that I would ask the concrete sleeper industry to make a submission in favour of concrete sleepers. These submissions have been received. The interchange has taken place and a decision will be subject to a report by the Bureau of Transport Economics. As soon as I receive that report and study it a decision will he made.

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