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Wednesday, 5 December 1973
Page: 2441

Senator DEVITT (TASMANIA) - I direct a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate in his capacity as Minister for Customs and Excise and, in another respect, in his capacity as Leader of the Government in the Senate. In view of the great increase that there will be in boating activities around the Australian coast with the approach of the holiday season, can he indicate what stage has been reached towards the establishment of an Australian coastguard, which I believe is eagerly awaited by responsible boating organisations and others in the community? Can he say what form and areas of responsibility such a body would cover and how its activities will be made to fit in with the activities of organisations concerned with water safety which desired to assist in every way possible?

Senator MURPHY -No, I am not able to answer the honourable senator's question. I wish that I were able to do so. There is a need for a coastguard service. There has been a good deal of co-operation in recent times between the Navy, the Air Force and the Department of Customs and Excise in an endeavour to have the proper surveillance that should exist in these areas. I regret that the establishment of a full coastguard service has not yet occurred. I assure the honourable senator that it is my wish- and I will endeavour to carry it out- that such a coastguard service should be established as soon as possible, because it is obvious, as the honourable senator has indicated, that there should be such a service.

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