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Tuesday, 17 September 1974
Page: 1114

Senator TOWNLEY (TASMANIA) - I direct to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport a question relating to the recently announced increases in Australian National Line freight rates. Does the Minister realise that, unless Tasmania receives some special consideration by way of a special subsidy to equalise Tasmanian freight rates with those that exist between States connected by road and rail as was promised by Mr Whitlam during election campaigns, Tasmanian industries could well sink under these continual freight increases, with a consequent detrimental effect on the Government's decentralisation aims and a worsening of our already bad unemployment situation? Will the Minister insist that the ANL does not implement the latest proposed rises at least until the current Nimmo inquiry is completed?

Senator CAVANAGH (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) -I think there has been a distortion of the statement made by the Prime Minister during the election campaign. I recall that he said that we would provide an efficient shipping service to Tasmania. As the honourable senator would know, a number of questions have been raised in regard to this matter.

Senator Rae - It was Senator Murphy who promised to cure Tasmania's shipping problems.

Senator CAVANAGH -You sink the boats as fast as we provide them. As the honourable senator would know, we have increased the amount of money allocated for shipping only to have to rescue ships from the bottom of the ocean on many occasions. If there is a proposal to increase freight charges, I will put the request to the Minister. The Australian National Line is a statutory authority and as such carries on its business on a commercial basis. I am prepared to put the question to the Minister to ascertain whether any proposed increases can be curtailed or delayed until such time as the Nimmo committee report is received.

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