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Wednesday, 25 November 1959

Mr JONES (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) - I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. By way of preface, I may say that the shipbuilding industry in Australia to-day is in a very precarious position. None of the yards has any continuity of employment with the exception of the Whyalla shipyard of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited. These facts prompt me to ask whether the Minister has, during 1959, permitted the Adelaide Steamship Company Limited, or any other company, to place an order overseas for the construction of a new ship or to purchase an existing vessel overseas. If the answer to either question is in the affirmative, what is the tonnage of the vessel concerned, and why was permission given? Furthermore, has the Minister had inquiries made overseas regarding the construction of refrigerator ships of some 14,000 tons? Will the Minister give an assurance that if it is decided to acquire such vessels, they will be built in Australian shipyards?

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