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Friday, 10 December 1965

Mr WENTWORTH (MACKELLAR, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question, which is directed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport, relates to a matter I raised with him in this House some months ago. Is it a fact that the marginal costs of moving goods or stock by rail are sometimes very low in comparison with total costs? Is it a fact, therefore, that great national advantages can be obtained if the railways are used more effectively to cope with seasonal conditions in various parts of Australia? Does this sometimes involve interstate as well as intrastate movements? Would it not be convenient for the Commonwealth Government, in its efforts to foster exports, to subsidise operations of this kind? Can the Minister tell me specifically what negotiations have been undertaken with the various State railway authorities in an effort to co-ordinate them in a plan for this matter of great national advantage, particularly when seasonal conditions are so variable in different parts of Australia?

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