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Wednesday, 28 April 1965

Senator WRIGHT (TASMANIA) - I direct a question on the same matter to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I ask whether or not the question of subsidising King Island freights was brought to the attention of the Minister for Shipping and Transport by political representatives in this Parliament months before the submission made by the Premier and the municipality. Was not that submission for subsidisation of freights, whether from Tasmania or Victoria? In announcing a decision to subsidise freights only from King Island to Victoria, was consideration given to the immediate effect that that will have upon freights to Tasmania? Is it not within the knowledge of the Minister that subsidy is given to internal airlines, in the manner that Senator McKenna suggests, under section 96? Is it within the knowledge of the Minister that application has been made by the entrepreneur who carries on a shipping service between Ulverstone and King Island to import a new replacement ship for that service and that this has not been sanctioned by reason of Commonwealth policy with regard to the construction of shipping in Australia? Is not this an important factor in considering how freights between Tasmania and King Island should be financed?

Senator PALTRIDGE - Knowing the activity of Tasmanian representatives in respect of shipping freights, I have no doubt at all that they have for some months been making representations to the Minister. Indeed, I should be extremely surprised if that were not the case. The honorable senator will, I am sure, appreciate that I am quite unable to state the particular representations which were put to the Minister for Shipping and Transport or, indeed, whether he gave consideration to all of the factors mentioned by Senator Wright; but I would assume that he did. However, in order to get the facts for Senator Wright, I shall discuss with Mr. Freeth the question which the honorable senator has submitted and see what information can be made available to him.

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