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Friday, 16 August 1974
Page: 1059

Senator MULVIHILL (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Speaking with the sympathy of one who at one time was an overhead crane driver, I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport: Why must members of the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia be continuously confronted with new vessels which have cranes with unsafe access ladders which constitute an extreme danger to the crane operators, as epitomised by the case of the bulk carrier 'Nord Rans Kathy"? Why is it that pre-construction discussions with the designers do not result in action being taken to avoid these industrial hazards? If discussions of this kind are not possible, why cannot the provisions of the Navigation Act be applied in order to enforce greater marine safety?

Senator CAVANAGH (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) - I do not know whether organisations such as the Waterside Workers Federation are continually faced with this problem. I think that some remedial action has been taken in respect of the vessel referred to by the honourable senator. The Department of Transport does have this subject continually under review. This is a complex case because this vessel operates under a foreign flag and, as such, the Government cannot involve itself at the construction stage in discussions with the designers and engineers as is done in the case of Australian flag vessels. Nevertheless the Department does have the right when it is notified by an organisation such as the Waterside Workers Federation to undertake a survey of such ships with a view to issuing a certificate of safety or to ensure that alterations which might be necessary in the interests of safety are carried out. The Department does take such action whenever a survey reveals that a hazardous situation exists.

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