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Thursday, 9 November 1911

Senator SAYERS (Queensland) . - On the second reading of the Bill I drew attention to the fact that there is no vote proposed for the establishment of wireless communication between either Cooktown or Thursday Island and Papua. It is more than a year since I had to interview the Department about the matter, and I was then assured that the work would be proceeded with at once. I am unable to congratulate the Government in this matter. During the last eighteen months there has been urgent need for wireless communication between North Queensland and Papua. Not long ago the Administrator of the Territory was lost, and we were all very anxious to know what had become of him.We could get news from Papua only by steamer, or steam launch. We know that wrecks sometimes take place on the Barrier Reef, and, as many vessels are now fitted with wireless telegraphy, it might be possible to save many lives in case of a marine disaster if there were some place on the coast of North Queensland with which vessels could communicate. Though a promise was made to me last year that the work to which I refer would be proceeded with, nothing has yet been done. I hope it will not be hung up as the establishment of the Federal Capital has been. I have constant inquiries from people in the north as to when the Government intends to proceed with the work, and I hope the Minister will be able to inform the Committee that it is the intention of the Government to do so very shortly.

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