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Thursday, 17 March 1966

Mr Webb b asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -

2.   Does his Department allocate funds to Western Australia for navigation purposes in proportion to the volume of shipping along the coast and not according to the length of the coastline?

2.   Are there only 23 navigational lights on the coast between Fremantle and Port Hedland, and are some of thi m more than 100 miles apart?

3.   Is it a fact that three of the six ships chartered to supply the iron ore ports have gone aground?

4.   Will he consider altering the formula providing for navigational lights to allow an adequate provision Df lights on the north-west coast?

Mr Freeth - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows -

1.   No. The allocation of funds and the location and priority of new navigational aids are determined on the basis of a number of criteria including the navigational difficulties likely to be encountered. Because of the variety of factors to be considered, proposals for new lights are referred to '.lie Lighthouse Advisory Committee appointed under (he provisions of the Lighthouses and Light Dues Regulations. This committee, whose sole purpose is to advise the Minister on the need foi and the relative importance of new aids, consists of departmental officers, representatives of coastal and overseas shipping interests, and representatives of certificated navigating officers and other seamen.

2.   Between Fremantle and Port Hedland there are 19 Commonwealth and two State navigational lights, excluding those serving local port needs. Some are more than 100 miles apart. However, with increased shipping along the Western Australian coast, the opening of new ports, and the larger ships likely to be involved in new trades, the programme for future construction involves 17 new navigational aids out of a total of 31 new projects for Australia and the Territories.

3.   Yes, but in each case factors other than the absence of a light were considered to be the primary cause of the accident.

4.   The existing machinery for determining the need for and relative importance of new lights is considered to be satisfactory. Masters, seafarers and shipping companies are free to make representations direct to the department if they consider that the navigational aids on any particular section of the coast are inadequate.

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