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Thursday, 9 March 1961

Mr OPPERMAN (CORIO, VICTORIA) (Minister for Shipping and Transport) - All railway projects that have an economic value are carefully scrutinized. I think that the Commonwealth's interest in the standardization of rail gauges is well known. The project of which the honorable member speaks would require a tremendous amount of study and research, but it is a proposal which we could consider. However, at present we have under consideration the standardization of the lines between Kalgoorlie and Perth and Port Pirie and Broken Hill. Even though some worthwhile development might follow from the proposal that the honorable member has advanced, it must nevertheless take a far lower priority than the projects which I have mentioned. The speed of diesel-hauled trains and their low overhead costs as compared with other forms of transport have been well studied, and we know that diesel locomotives have played a tremendous part in railway development.

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